Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored 31 points and the Boston Celtics led most of the way, holding off the Atlanta Hawks for a 129-121 victory Sunday night and a 3-1 series lead. first round playoffs.
The Celtics can deliver the clincher on Tuesday night when the series returns to Boston for Game 5.
Tatum and Brown combined to score Boston’s final 16 points.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
Brown, who has been wearing a protective mask after sustaining facial bruises in February, removed the device after taking just 1 of 7 shots. He went 11 for 15 the rest of the way.
Boston never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead on a Derrick White layup just over a minute into the game.
Tatum hit a huge 3-pointer on a fumble with two minutes left, leading the Celtics to a 118-106 lead.
After Trae Young made a snap from a long three to provide the last gasp for Atlanta, Brown knocked one down from beyond the arc to seal it for the Celtics.
Marcus Smart added 19 points and Derrick White 18 for the Celtics.
Young had another great game for Atlanta with 35 points, but it wasn’t enough. De’Andre Hunter had 27 and DeJounte Murray 23.
GRIZZLIES’ DILLON BROOKS REGRETS PERCEIVING THE ‘VILLAIN’ LABEL, BELIEVES IT’S THE REASON HE WAS SENT OFF IN GAME 3
Hunter scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, then delivered a thunderous dunk that brought the Hawks within 53-49.
But Boston closed the first half on a 12-4 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Smart that sent the visitors to the locker room with a 65-53 lead and drained a lot of energy from the home crowd.
The Celtics doggedly defended their lead throughout the third period.
Young hit a long 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within three, but Boston made the last shot and put the ball in Smart’s hands. The Celtics cleared the middle of the court so Bogdan Bogdanovic could get past him and took a 92-87 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Smart was in the Celtics’ lineup and was looking good after a hard knockdown near the end of Game 3.
He landed on his tailbone while struggling for a rebound, leading Boston to list it as a game-time decision. But coach Joe Mazzulla declared his guard was «ready to play» long before the game began.
KEEP IT CLEAN
The first week of the playoffs has been marred by flagrant fouls, ejections and suspensions.
There haven’t been any major issues in the Celtics-Hawks series, though Young did flagrantly foul for grabbing Tatum’s arm on a drive through the lane in the third quarter.
«I think it’s been a clean series,» Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. «Physicality isn’t necessarily bad. It’s part of the game. You can be physical. I think the word is ‘aggressive’ more than anything. Both teams have done that.»
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Celtics: After being outrebounded 48-29 in Game 3, Boston came out much more determined on the boards. They held a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarterback, 32-20 at halftime and finished with a 53-52 lead.
Hawks: Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins missed his second straight game as a commentator on the Hawks’ regional broadcast due to illness. He is expected to return for Game 5.