LOS ANGELES, USA – Daniel Theis blocked a three-point attempt by Atlanta’s Trae Young with 2.7 seconds remaining and the Celtics escaped with a 109-106 NBA victory over the lowly Hawks in Boston on Friday, January 3 (Saturday, January 4, Philippine time).
“I knew he wanted to take the three to win the game,” Boston center Theis said. “He probably would’ve beat me for a layup, but I think he just wanted the game-winner. That’s why I said I just tried to take away the shot, and at the end I was right there to block it.”
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
GOODNIGHT pic.twitter.com/MVr6xoFhEm— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 4, 2020
Atlanta, who came into the game with the league’s worst record, jumped to a 29-11 lead in the 1st quarter.
Boston cut the advantage to two points by halftime, and led by two going into the final period.
Gordon Hayward added 18 points and 6 rebounds and Marcus Smart – starting for point guard Kemba Walker who was battling flu-like symptoms – notched 15 points with 6 rebounds and 9 assists.
But it was Theis’ big block that defined the night, leaving Young – who finished with 28 points and 10 assists – disappointed in his return to action after two games sidelined by a sprained right ankle.
“That’s a big-time basketball play,” coach Brad Stevens said as the Celtics kept the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 24-8 record behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ league-best 31-5 slate