Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) reacts after one of his many baskets against the Hawks in Game 3. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)
From a Jonas Jerebko put-back dunk on the opening possession to three flagrant fouls, a lane violation to nullify a four-point play, Marcus Smart’s chase-down block of Al Horford and a 42-point night from Isaiah Thomas, Game 3 had it all.
More importantly, the Celtics survived Atlanta’s comeback efforts in a 111-103 victory.
All they have to do is press repeat on Sunday night at the Garden. Easier said than done, since Thomas played out of his mind and the C’s got A games from Evan Turner (17 points, 7 assists, 5 steals), Amir Johnson (15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks), Jerebko (11 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists) and Smart (11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks).
For the complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas.
After a disappointing end to the season and an underwhelming first two games of the series, Thomas was the best player on the floor Friday night. He played off the ball as more of a shooting guard and flourished. Thomas was money from beyond the arc, knocking down five of his 12 attempts from deep. With just under two minutes left to play, Thomas launched an absolute dagger from approximately 28 feet. Thomas did a fantastic job of attacking the basket, making 13 of his 15 free throws. He also may have accidentally punched Schroder in the face, so hopefully he is still active for Game 4.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Jae Crowder.
Crowder is giving everything he’s got, but clearly his shot is not falling. He finished 1-for-11 from the field for only four points. With that being said, he played excellent defense on the Hawks bigs, who only combined for 16 points. Crowder took another fall late in the fourth quarter and was slow to get up. It will be interesting to see how much Stevens relies on him in Game 4 on Sunday.
VINE OF THE NIGHT:
WHINE OF THE NIGHT: No Prince music.
The Celtics’ game operations staff must not have two ears nor souls. How do you not play one Prince song? Let’s Go Crazy is literally what you want the fans to do. Such an outrageous oversight.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 9-of-36.
The Hawks shot only 25 percent from 3-point range on Friday night. Kyle Korver made five of those 3’s, while the rest of the team was just dreadful.
@ OF THE NIGHT: Trags is JACKED UP.