Celtics’ Jaylen Brown drops truth bomb on Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks put up such a valiant effort in their first-round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics that Jaylen Brown offered a sobering dose of reality.

“You gotta give credit to the Hawks,” Brown said ahead of Game 1 versus the Philadelphia 76ers via the CLNS Media Boston Sports YouTube channel on April 30. “I mean I think if they would have played like that all season they would have been a top-five team in the East. I thought they played extremely well. They role players were efficient. They played with high energy, we’re hard to guard. They crashed the boards. Yeah, they played a lot different than I’ve seen them play all season long. But credit to them for that.”

That is a harsh reality to swallow.

The Hawks looked overmatched in Games 1 and 2 versus the Celtics, falling by 13 points in each contest. They looked much better at home, winning Game 3 and then losing Game 4 down the stretch with a final margin of eight points. They also took it to the Celtics in Game 5, securing a tough victory on the road in TD Garden Arena.

While the final deficit in the deciding Game 6 was eight points, the game was tied with just under four minutes to go at 113.

It’s also a testament to the Hawks that they were able to put up such a fight after a season that began with playoff aspirations but saw them struggle at times to mesh the ball-dominant syles of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

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The Hawks also changed coaches after the All-Star break.

They finished the season 10-11 under Snyder in the regular season but the differences in their style of play have been evident.

“You do have to give them credit,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game in a video shared by NBA Interviews on YouTube on April 11. “I think Quin [Snyder] has done a great job of just creating an identity for that team. They’re different just in terms of how they really try to crash [the glass] and get second opportunities. And that was costly today.”

And, not to diminish Snyder, but it would work without the players. The Hawks still have the bones of a roster that made a deep playoff run and, at times, flashed that down the stretch and in the postseason.

Brown previously noted Young’s ability to put up points after Game 3 which the Hawks won without Murray.

“We controlled the game for the most part,” Brown told reporters via the NBC Sports Boston YouTube channel on April 25, “and then Trae Young just put on a hell of a performance in the fourth quarter made, some big threes the last one, of course, was the stinger. But the only thing you can say is get ready for the next one.”

Atlanta Hawks’ stance on John Collins remains unchanged.

Hawks general manager Landry Fields addressed many of the individual players during his end-of-season press conference on April 25. That included forward John Collins who notably did not hold an exit presser.

Collins, of course, has been the subject of trade rumors during every transaction window for the last two years.

That is a non-commitment but, as the Hawks have shown, they are not going to give Collins away.

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It will be interesting to see if they are still as anxious to move him knowing they would be doing so at his lowest value coming off a down year by most statistical measures.