Can the Hawks Even the Score in Game Four?
CAN THE HAWKS EVEN THE SCORE IN GAME FOUR – Welcome back basketball fans to our NBA playoffs coverage here at Godzilla Wins. Today we will discuss the first-round eastern conference matchup between the No. 2 Boston Celtics and the No. 7 seed Atlanta Hawks.
How We Got Here
The Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks in each of the three regular-season contests between these two ball clubs. And unfortunately for Atlanta, that trend continued into this series. In Games 1 and 2, Boston jumped out to early leads in the first halves of those contests, winning both games by a comfortable 13-point margin.
In addition to that, Hawks guard Trae Young had struggled mightily in this series heading in Game 3 on Friday night. He shot 5-for-18 in the series opener and followed that up with a 9-for-22 effort in Game 2, equating to a 35 percent conversion rate.
Even more important, the Hawks’ offense was having a difficult time as a whole, shooting 38.8 percent from the floor in Game 1 and 42.6 percent from the floor in Game 2.
Hawks Flying High After a Much-Needed Win In Game 3
The narrative changed a bit in Game 3, though. While Boston led early once again, it was Atlanta that led by a 74-67 margin at the break, marking the first time they produced a halftime lead. When it was all said and done, the Hawks finally broke into the win column against the Celtics with a 130-122 win, cutting the series deficit to 2-1.
With the possibility of falling into an 0-3 hole, two of Atlanta’s key players – Trae Young and Dejounte Murray — turned in solid performances. Young scored a game-high of 32 points on 12-for-22 shooting from the field, including 2-for-6 from beyond the arc. He also had nine assists and pulled down six rebounds.
When asked if this was the best game between himself and Murray, Young did his best to keep things in perspective.
“You don’t want to live in the moment too much. I mean, we won a game in the playoffs, it’s big,” Young said, via ESPN. “But we’ve had some really good games together. I don’t consider this our best game together. It’s definitely one of them, but it came at the right time and we needed it.”
As it was previously mentioned, Murray was no slouch, either. He finished with 25 points, converting 11 of his 21 shot attempts, and was 2-for-6 from distance. He also collected six rebounds and five assists. And it is also worth mentioning that Murray is the Hawks’ leading scorer in this playoff series, as he is averaging 26 points per outing.
While the scoring output between the two guards was impressive, their play down the stretch makes their performances even more noteworthy. During the last three-plus minutes of the contest, the duo combined to score the team’s last 14 points, helping Atlanta hold off a furious late charge by the Celtics.
Another stat worth mentioning is that Atlanta turned in its best performance from an offensive standpoint. After being stymied through the first two games, the Hawks shot an impressive 56 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Whether this level of play is sustainable going forward remains to be seen. But if the Hawks can duplicate this kind of production and come away with a win in Game 4, this series could go longer than most of us anticipated.