Three takeaways from Boston’s 121-109 bounce back win over Atlanta


After a defensive performance on Wednesday against Atlanta that the Celtics wanted to quickly put behind them, Boston came out with renewed intensity on Friday night. The Celtics (15-14) locked down those same Hawks (12-16) to pull out a 121-109 win at TD Garden on Friday night.

The other key difference tonight? Welcome back Kemba Walker. After missing Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta due to it being the second night of a back-to-back, Walker used the extra rest to put on a first half show.

For a player who has been working himself back into shape, the first 24 minutes saw the Celtics PG at his best. Finishing with 20 first half points on 7-11 shooting, Walker helped the Celtics open up a 66-41 halftime lead that they never let go of.

Walker led the Celtics with 28 points and 6 dimes, while Tatum poured in 25 of his own. Trae Young and Clint Capela each had big nights for Atlanta but received little offensive help from the rest of the Hawks.

Here are three main takeaways from Boston’s resurgent win over Atlanta:

Kemba Walker found his rhythm and looked near 100%

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

After missing the first stretch of the 2020-2021 season with a knee injury, the Celtics have slowly tried to work Kemba Walker back into game shape. Tonight he was locked in from the opening tip as he began the evening with 8 first-quarter points and had his jumper going. There was a bounce and rhythm to his game that has been missing at times this year, and it was a welcome site after he sat out Wednesday’s loss due to Boston being cautious with his left knee injury.

The defensive intensity looked different from the jump

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

After allowing the Hawks to walk all over them in the paint on Wednesday, the Celtics came out with a different defensive intensity tonight. Allowing only 41 Atlanta points in the first half, The Celtics turned the Hawks over early and battled on the interior. Another difference between Wednesday and tonight? Daniel Theis was back in the lineup and at his best, as he led the way on both ends in the paint.

The Hawks made runs, but the Celtics never fully allowed them back in

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Even when Atlanta made their runs, specifically to cut the lead to single digits with under five minutes left, the Celtics had an answer. Two Theis slams off of terrific finds from Jayson Tatum and Tristan Thompson respectively quickly ended any Atlanta hopes of a shocking comeback. The streaky Hawks made pushes, but the Celtics never wavered en route to their 15th win.




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