How Celtics took full control with Game 4 road win over Hawks

Having a short memory is critical to succeeding in the NBA Playoffs, and the Boston Celtics quickly forgot about their lackluster Game 3 performance by responding with a big win in Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks.

After a 129-121 victory on the road, the C’s are up 3-1 in the first round and are headed back home for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

It wasn’t perfect, but Boston was good enough to keep a feisty Hawks team at bay and avoid dropping two in a row. Here are three major takeaways from the Celtics’ pivotal Game 4 win.

3. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown bounce back

Following a tough Game 3, Celtics star Jayson Tatum took full blame for the loss. In Game 4, he helped propel the C’s alongside fellow All-Star Jaylen Brown.

The dazzling duo combined for 62 points (31 apiece) on Sunday night, which was a notable improvement from their 44 combined points in Game 3. Plus, they stepped up when it truly mattered, as the two stars had 28 total points in the fourth quarter alone:

The Celtics are now 22-1 when Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both score 30 points, including the playoffs. That .957 win percentage is the best among duos all-time, minimum 20 games.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 24, 2023

The terrific tandem didn’t just get it done on offense, though, as Tatum and Brown both had solid defensive showings. Tatum shined in particular with three huge blocks that helped him find his groove when his shot was off:

everyone’s invited to the block party

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 24, 2023

Game 4 was a prime example of the two-way abilities of Tatum and Brown and another reason why they’re one of the best one-two punches in the league.

2. The supporting cast had all the answers for Boston

Even though the Celtics were leading for every second of the last three quarters, the contest felt much closer than that.

Atlanta had a fair amount of runs in them and at one point got Boston’s lead down to just three near the end of the third quarter. Yet, Celtics leader Marcus Smart responded with a powerful slam to stop the bleeding as time expired:

Marcus Smart down the lane with the NASTY slam!!

— Happy Hour Hoops (@happyhourhoops1) April 24, 2023

That dunk summed up Game 4 perfectly: every time the Hawks got it close, the Celtics’ supporting cast responded. Tatum and Brown were the stars of the show, however, Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon were all in double figures as well.

Smart, who often struggles with efficiency, shot 57% from the field and scored 19 points in spite of some injury issues. The 2023 Sixth Man of the Year, Brogdon, put up 14 points in just 22 minutes while coming off the bench. Additionally, White had 18 points to make his series average an impressive 19.8 points per game.

Ultimately, the winning formula for the Celtics was Tatum and Brown leading the charge with the supporting cast not far behind in terms of production.

1. Robert Williams III continues to be crucial

The Celtics have played well in the first round, but they haven’t been flawless. In fact, their rebounding on the offensive glass has been questionable, so much so that the Hawks have grabbed more offensive boards in every game this series.

However, the 11-9 offensive rebounding differential in Game 4 was the slimmest margin since the first game of the first round. With 15 rebounds in total, Celtics center Robert Williams III was the difference maker on Sunday night.

Robert Williams tonight:

13 PTS
15 REB
4-5 FG

First Celtic with a 10/15 playoff game off the bench since Bill Walton.

— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 24, 2023

Plus, in 29 minutes of play, Williams scored 13 points and swatted two shots. Although he was in the starting rotation during Boston’s playoff run last year, Williams has managed to stay productive while coming off the bench in the 2022-23 postseason.

On a deep team like Boston, minutes are going to be sacrificed. But selfless players like Williams and Brogdon have fully embraced bench roles despite the fact that they’d likely start on most teams.

Williams’ defensive presence is invaluable to the C’s, as his shot blocking helps lock down the paint against a Hawks team that’s looking to drive and attack that area all game. His increased minutes limited the Hawks’ points in the paint, as they put up 44 in Game 4 compared to their 54 in Game 3:

Derrick White pulls up from deep in transition off the Robert Williams block

— Celtics Nation (@CelticsNationCP) April 24, 2023

The players surrounding Tatum and Brown will always be paramount to Boston’s success, but Williams might be the most important non-star on the roster. To advance past this first-round series, the C’s will need him to protect the paint again in Game 5 on Tuesday, though things could be made a bit easier for them if Dejounte Murray is suspended for making contact with a ref.

The post How Celtics took full control with Game 4 road win over Hawks appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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