Hawks Beat Third-String Celtics 112-106

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Taurean Prince
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Taurean Prince /
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BOSTON, MA – APRIL 8: Taurean Prince
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 8: Taurean Prince /

The most potent individual performance in this game came courtesy of Taurean Prince. Prince followed up his stellar 31-point performance against the Celtics in February with a tour-de-force 33-point whirling dervish on this night.

The Prince That Was Promised was incandescent from the field, shooting a lights-out 12 of 17 from the field, including 7 of 8 from downtown. In addition to his 33 game-high 33 points, TP stuffed the stat sheet with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in a game-high 39 minutes. He was also a +6 box plus/minus in a game the Hawks won by 6 – definitely not a coincidence.

This game continued Taurean’s incredible development after the All-Star Break. It is clear that he is a talented player (perhaps the best player on the Hawks), and he will be an important piece of this Hawks rebuild going forward – no matter what pick the Hawks get in the draft.

Prince started off slowly in this tilt, turning the ball over numerous times in the first quarter. Previously in his career, those early struggles would’ve affected him the rest of the game, but it was refreshing to see him shake off those issue and explode for 30+ points with ease – even after starting the game on a down note.

John Collins had a strong all-around performance, though he did airball two corner threes. JC finished with 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block in 32 minutes of playing time — hopefully further cementing his place on the All-Rookie First Team.

Of course, a game recap wouldn’t be complete without a sweet John the Baptist dunk, so here you go:

DeAndre’ Bembry, starting consecutive games for the first time in his career looked sharp as a primary ballhandler and is clearly the Hawks’ best perimeter defender – even with all of his time missed and injury concerns this season.

Bembry had a nice two-way game, scoring 11 points on 4 of 9 shooting with 3 rebounds, 3 assists. 1 steal and 1 powerhouse block on massive Celtics center Aaron Baynes:

Bembry finished as a +8 in BPM in 20 minutes, and his ability to muck up passing lanes, defend well, fight through screens and generally put forth great effort will be important for a rebuilding Hawks team.

Damion Lee, who started at point guard for the Hawks over Isaiah Taylor, logged 14 points on 6 of 13 shooting with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 29 minutes. He continues to impress in his audition for a role on the team going forward.

Speaking of Isaiah Taylor, he had some clutch moments late in this one, as some timely layups helped to push the Hawks lead – with very little resistance from the Celtics’ defense. Taylor finished with 13 points on 5 of 11 shooting with 6 assists in 27 minutes.

Mike Muscala, who continues to hit clutch shots for Atlanta, finished with a game-best +15 BPM in 28 minutes of play and he notched 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in that time.

The Hawks play their final game of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers, who shellacked the Hawks on March 30 and will come into the game with the league’s best winning streak of 14 straight games. Let’s hope that luck continues for Philly, as the Hawks would do well to lose that game in order to cement their draft position.

Next: Four Realistic Free Agent Signings for the Hawks

Philly needs that game too, especially if they want to hold on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt over the Cleveland Cavaliers.