After going down 2-0, the Celtics stormed back and managed to tie up the series at two games each with their home win on Sunday. Paul Millsap and Isaiah Thomas dueled all night, and overtime was needed to decide the victor, but Boston stifled Atlanta in the final period and pulled out a 104-95 win.
Boston was able to get the jump on the Hawks after the first quarter. Behind eight points from Jae Crowder, and six apiece from Evan Turner and Isaiah Thomas, the C’s held a 24-21 lead despite shooting just 38% from the field; the trio above shot a combined 8/14 (57%). Atlanta shot a tad better at 43% but was unable to get to the foul line. Paul Millsap, however, proved to be a handful and recorded 11 points and five rebounds in the quarter, enough to lead both sides.
The Hawks’ offense — Millsap specifically — picked up in the second and saw a six-point increase to 27. Building on his 11 first quarter points, Millsap poured in 15 on 6/8 shooting and 2/3 from downtown; the rest of the team shot 5/17 (29%). Jeff Teague, Al Horford, and Dennis Schroder were all non-factors and combined for five points on 2/11 from the field. The Celtics dropped off and tallied 22 points on 36% shooting for the quarter. Turner, Thomas, and Crowder had 12 of those points but on 5/16 shooting. Boston trailed 48-46 at halftime.
Millsap and Thomas traded buckets in the third as Atlanta edged out Boston, 25-24. Millsap continued to dominate with remarkable efficiency, putting in ten points on 4/7 from the field and he even blocked two shots in the frame. Thomas nearly matched Millsap’s ten with nine of his own on 3/7 shooting, including 1/2 from three. Although Thomas had the most points, Jonas Jerebko was invaluable for Boston in the third. After just one point and three rebounds in the first half, Jerebko came out in the third with eight points on 3/4 shooting; he matched his three rebounds as well.
In the fourth, Millsap failed to record at least ten points as he had in the other quarters — he finished just one point shy, but still shot a superb percentage from the field, 4/6. Atlanta had just 19 points in the period and shot 38% from the field. Jerebko had another excellent performance with seven points and two boards, but Marcus Smart came up huge for Boston. Smart had just nine points through the first three quarters but came out with 11 on 4/6 shooting in the fourth. Boston tied the game with their 22-point period.
In OT, the Hawks fell apart. Jeff Teague hit the team’s only field goal in 11 attempts, and Atlanta finished with just three points. Boston had 12 on 4/5 shooting led by Amir Johnson and Thomas, who had five each. Thomas capped the game off by scoring Boston’s final five points.
Paul Millsap finished with a game-high 45 points on 19/31 shooting, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four blocks. In doing so, Millsap became the first Hawk (since ’84) to record 45 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in a game. Jeff Teague had 13 points, but shot horrendously and finished 4/18 from the field.
Isaiah Thomas followed his 42-point performance with 28 on 11/23 shooting and six assists. Marcus Smart had one of the best performances of his career and finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Game five is set for Tuesday, April 26 at 8:30 PM EST in Atlanta.