Atlanta Hawks advance series lead 2-0 over Boston Celtics with 89-72 win
Atlanta's Paul Millsap drives past Boston's Jae Crowder. | Kevin C. Cox

Both the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks made history in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Though slow starts have not been uncommon for the Celtics in recent games, their total of just seven points in the first quarter set the record for the fewest scored by any team in the first quarter of a playoff game since 1954. On the other hand, a win for the Hawks gave them their first 2-0 lead against the Celtics in Hawks’ playoff history.

Hawks hold fast lead

The first quarter was another slow start for Boston, while Atlanta got off to an explosive start. Kyle Korver shot four three pointers early, and quickly redeemed himself for his lack of points in Game 1. The absence of Avery Bradley took its toll early, when nearly half way through the first quarter, the Hawks led 21-3. Boston was able to put up just seven points in the quarter, trailing 24-7. Seven points scored in a period was the lowest amount of points scored in a playoff game since 1954.

The Celtics improved halfway through the second quarter, trailing by 11 points with a score of 39-28. But as the Celtics began to make a comeback, the Hawks also answered right back. Though they didn’t increase their lead much, Atlanta still managed to stay on top to end the period 43-28. Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter. In the first half, the Celtics shot 28.9 percent compared to the Hawks’ 37.5. The real difference was in three point shots. Atlanta went 8-19, while Boston was 1-13.

Isaiah Thomas looks to make a shot to increase the Celtics' lead. | Scott Cunningham
Isaiah Thomas looks to make a shot to increase the Celtics' lead. | Scott Cunningham

Hawks maintain early advantage for a win

The third quarter consisted of the Hawks nursing their lead as Boston slowly increased theirs. The Hawks practically did everything they could to let the Celtics back into the game, yet they wouldn’t oblige. It was seemingly a game that no one wanted to win, as shooting percentages dropped to 36 percent for Atlanta and 30 for Boston. After missing seven consecutive shots, the Celtics ended the third trailing the Hawks 61-46.

Both teams implemented solid defense in the fourth quarter, and the Hawks additionally began to improve their game offensively. The Hawks created a 23-point lead halfway through the fourth, leading the Celtics 76-53. Isaiah Thomas cut the lead back to 15 for the Celtics with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Despite effort by Boston to make a game-winning comeback, the Hawks maintained their lead to win the game 89-72.

Isaiah Thomas was the lead scorer for the Celtics just as he had been previously in Game 1, with a total of 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Kyle Korver stepped up for the Hawks, shocking many with his 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists, along with Al Horford with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Next up, the Hawks travel to Boston for Game 3 at TD Garden on Friday, April 22, with tipoff at 8:00 p.m.

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