No Marcus Smart, no Malcolm Brogdon, no problem. The Celtics offense is a well-oiled machine that cannot be slowed down.
The Boston Celtics reminded the Atlanta Hawks of the sobering gap between playoff contender and Finals contender Wednesday, crushing the latter, 126-101, and improving to 12-3 on the year.
Boston led by 30 points at in the fourth quarter, and slashed 55 FG/46 3PT/90 FT% shooting splits en route to the victory. Jaylen Brown led a balanced attack with 22 points on an efficient 10-for-17 shooting.
The Celtics received contributions from Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser to compensate for Brogdon and Smart’s absence. The trio combined for 44 points on 17-for-21 shooting, outscoring Atlanta’s bench by 29 points.
The Celtics defense showed improvements tonight, making the Hawks shoot just 22% from three and grabbing a total of 12 steals and blocks. For a team that dropped from first place to 22nd on that end, that was an encouraging sign.
The Celtics will now fly to New Orleans on Friday and Chicago on Monday to finish their three-game road trip.