Hawks Pull Off Historic 30-Point Comeback Against Celtics

There was 4:23 left in the second quarter, and the Boston Celtics held a 68-38 lead over the Atlanta Hawks, however, the home team never gave up, and somehow pulled off a remarkable comeback, winning 120-118.DeAndre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks were able to rally and stun the NBA’s best record team, the Celtics, by overcoming a 30-point deficit, which is tied for the fourth-greatest comeback in the last 25 years. To mention, this is also the biggest comeback for the Hawks’ franchise since the play-by-play era began in 1997. 

Jayson Tatum, who had a game-high 37 points, acknowledged, “We let our foot off the gas in the second half, they got in a great rhythm, then it became a ball game, they made some more plays than we did at the end,” Tatum said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow… You know we were up a lot, we f****d the game up, and we know that.” 

Boston started the game off making 16-of-24 field goals (5-of-7 3PT; 7-of-7 FT), as they finished the first quarter with a 44-22 lead. The Celtics then extended the gap to start the second quarter, and after Al Horford made a corner three with a little under the 4 ½ minute mark, the Hawks trailed by 30 points.

Just when everyone thought the game was over, with 1:30 left in the quarter, the Hawks started to chip away at the Celtics’ commanding lead, as they went on a 9-0 run right before halftime. Then at the start of the second half, the Hawks continued where they left off, as they actually brought it to be a one-possession game, 78-75, just four minutes into the third quarter. This means the Hawks managed to bring about a 24-point swing with just 5 ½ minutes coming off the game clock. 

To point out, Hawks’ guard Vit Krejci tied his career-high of 16 points and played a big role in the momentum shift, “I think what really helped was that we were down 30, the game looked like it was going to slip away, but then you know we had a good end of the second quarter, and we still gave ourselves a chance in the second half.”

Krejci shot 4-for-7 from deep, and also notably led the team on an 8-0 run himself, hitting 2 3’s and a dunk during the third quarter, “Our shots started falling in the third, and we got our confidence, and then we were just rolling,” Krejci said.

Notably, Dejounte Murray also had a career-high 15 assists, as well as contributing 19 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic had 22 points. Then the player of the game was De’Andre Hunter, who had 24 points and the game-sealing three-point shot with 10 seconds left to give the Hawks a 120-116 lead over the Celtics. 

That is to say, in regards to the play-breakdown, off of a Murray miss, Clint Capela was able to grab the offensive rebound and kick it out to Hunter at the top of the key. With a one-point lead, Hunter shot what many would consider an ill-advised shot, as he didn’t let the clock run out. After the game, Hunter explained that he had already made up his mind before he got the ball, that he was going to shoot it, “He got the rebound, he passed it to me, so I shot it.” 

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder talked about the shot selection, “He didn’t hesitate,” Snyder stated. “He shot the ball with confidence, and I had confidence in him.”

After all, no one is going to complain when the ball goes in, with all things considered Hunter leaves the game as the hero, by helping the Hawks complete an implausible comeback against the Celtics, who still have a league-leading 57-15 record. 

Jaylen Brown, who ended with 24 points, admitted the Celtics got distracted after their huge lead, “We took our hands off the steering wheel a little bit, and no matter we up 30 or we down five, we have to have the same approach and same mindset,” Brown said. “That’s going to be a challenge for us going into the last home stretch of the season, knowing that we secured the Eastern Conference and number one seed, but we still got to work on us.”

On the other hand, the Hawks now remain at the 10th seed play-in spot in the East with a 32-39 record and will hope to fight for a playoff spot while currently dealing with injuries to eight players in total, including Trae Young (finger), Saddiq Bey (ACL), and Jalen Johnson (ankle).

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