Support team takes the lead in C’s win

Celtics-Hawks takeaway: Supporters take the lead in C’s win appeared first on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics cruised to their eighth consecutive win as they battled the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, 126-101.

They have their support team to thank for that. With stars Jayson Tatum (19 points) and Jaylen Brown (22 points) coming off shooting nights, as well as Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon out due to injury, the rest of the squad had to step up. Not only did they rise to the occasion, they dominated from start to finish.

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Sam Hauser (15 points) and Payton Pritchard (14 points) were automatic off the C bench as they combined to shoot 9-for-12 from 3-point range. Luke Kornet added 15 points of his own to help the second unit put on a show.

Grant Williams had 18 points and was 4-of-7 from the arc. Derrick White had a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists.

The Celtics will try to extend their winning streak to nine games when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game.

Derrick White is a great complement to Marcus Smart

Boston was without its starting point guard Wednesday night with Marcus Smart sidelined with ankle inflammation. Veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon was also ruled out for the fourth straight game with a hamstring injury.

Backup guard Derrick White got the start in Smart’s absence and did a little bit of everything to propel the C’s to victory. On top of his 16 points (6-11 FG), he also filled in nicely as a playmaker with 10 assists.

White also made Clisthe-like game-winning plays on the defensive end, including his seventh sack of the season.

The 2022 trade deadline acquisition remains a valuable piece for the Celtics. When Smart and/or Brogdon are off their game or unavailable to suit up, Boston can be sure that the next man up will carry the offense.

Good things come in threes

Whenever the Hawks crept back into the game, the Celtics pulled away with a barrage of 3-point shots. Grant Williams, Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard were the main prosecutors.

Williams hit four of his seven 3-point attempts, including back-to-back shots from the corner.

Hauser was 5-for-6 from 3. He added six rebounds and was a team-best +35.

Pritchard shot 4-for-6 from long range, including a buzzer beater to end the first half. He also tallied four assists.

The trio carried the load and Tatum and Brown combined to shoot just 4-for-16 from beyond the arc. The Hawks were 7-for-32 as a team from 3. That’s the difference Boston had with 25 points.

A big night for the ‘Green Kornet’

Neither Sam Hauser nor Payton Pritchard could stop off the bench for the C’s, but don’t sleep on big man Luke Kornet. The 7-foot-2 center had a great night with eight rebounds and four blocks. He matched Hauser with 15 points, his highest scoring output since February 9, 2020.

He capped off the performance with a late 3-pointer that set up Smart and the Celtics bench.

It was a great night on both ends of the floor for the “Green Kornet.” Celtics fans are anxiously awaiting the return of big man Robert Williams, but Kornet has shown he can hold down the fort in the meantime.

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