In their first home game of the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks secured a victory over the Boston Celtics to give them a fighting chance in their first-round series.
When speaking to the media following the contest, Trae Young credited how the Celtics use Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to provide spacing to their offense, noting how the Hawks are looking to play in a similar fashion.
“It’s spacing the floor and giving each other space and rooms and gaps,” Young said. “And I mean, that’s what they do. That’s why they’re really good. They got a lot of guys who can play but those two guys, Jaylen and Jayson.
“I mean, they’re the two heads of the snake. And they gotta have space to attack, and they do a great job. And we’re trying to do the same thing, and I think we did a really good job at night spacing, and me and DJ did a good job of when we were getting to the lane getting two guys and me still finding guys for shots too. So we did a little bit of both tonight was good.”
Young amassed 36 minutes of playing time on Friday, April 21, producing a statline of 32 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and 1 steal while shooting the rock at a 54.5% clip from the field and 33.3% clip from three-point range.
Jayson Tatum Praises Grant Williams’ Performance
Since the start of the playoffs, Grant Williams has found himself riding the bench, as head coach Joe Mazzulla has opted for Sam Hauser‘s floor spacing ability to help limit the impact of the Hawks big man rotation.
Yet, in game three, Williams was called upon to help shore up Boston’s defense while also contributing to their offensive execution, with the impending restricted free agent having a valuable impact. During his post-game press conference, Tatum credited Williams’ performance.
“Grant came in and was very productive in the minutes he played,” Tatum said.
Williams, 24, walked away from the game with 14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal while shooting 100% from the floor, with all of his shots coming from three-point range.
Grant Williams Focusing on a Championship
Following the Celtics’ loss, Williams was asked about the difficulties in being asked to come off the bench after not playing in the previous two games and being expected to make an impact.
“The biggest thing is just making sure that you focus on the ultimate goal, and that’s winning a championship,” Williams said.
It will be interesting to see if Williams’ performance has earned him an opportunity to compete in the remaining games of the series against the Hawks, although the common consensus is that he will feature heavily during the later rounds of the postseason.
With their loss to Atlanta, the Celtics still have to win two more games to progress into the second round and may feel like their April 21 performance was a missed opportunity. Still, Boston will return to the State Farm Arena on Sunday, April 23, with the hopes of securing a win before going back to Boston and closing out the series in game five.