Now that is how you close out a game.
About 48 hours ago, the Celtics were being scrutinized everywhere for their inability to close out the Atlanta Hawks and move on to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. I, myself, being one of the many C's fans that were extremely disappointed in how they closed out Game 5.
Well, they shut me and all of Celtic Nation up.
Behind Jayson Tatum's 30 points and Jaylen Brown's 32, the Celtics were able to close out the Hawks in the final quarter on their way to a 128-120 win. It was a complete 180 from how they closed out Game 5's fourth quarter.
Trailing 113-110 with five minutes left to play, the Celtics went on an 11-0 run to silence the crowd at State Farm Arena. Atlanta-native, Brown, got the run going by drilling a three right in Dejounte Murray's face. Tatum and Al Horford would then hit their own three's, shots that went unanswered by an Atlanta team that proved to be exceptionally pesky throughout this whole series.
Obviously when a team scores 128 points, the talk of the game will mainly come from their offensive output. But, what impressed me the most was the Celtics defense on Trae Young. The point guard got off to a scorching start in the first half, putting up 18 points in the first quarter. Across the final 24 minutes however, Young was held to 1-8 shooting when his shots were contested and finished 9-28 for the game. Boston flipped a switch on him defensively and it proved to be crucial in closing Atlanta out.
This series should have been over in four or five games, but I'll give credit when it's due. The Hawks proved to be quite annoying (for lack of a better term) for the Celtics and would not seem to go away. This was a good first round test as Boston now looks to get ready for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Let's keep this rolling.
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- W. Monast