The Boston Celtics set an awful NBA record in loss to the Atlanta Hawks

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To say the Boston Celtics didn't have the best of nights in Atlanta would be an understatement. The men in green are now 2-0 down to the Hawks in their first-round playoff series, after an 89-72 defeat which has left them with a mountain to climb.

If losing for the second straight game and only posting a lowly 72 points weren't enough, the Celtics also completed the game with an unwanted NBA record that may stick with them for a considerable amount of time.

Brad Stevens' team ended the first quarter with just seven points on the board, which is the fewest first-quarter points total in playoff history.

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The previous record was eight which was set by the Utah Jazz against the L.A. Lakers in 1988 and was matched by the Dallas Mavericks in their series with the San Antonio Spurs in 2010.

Quite frankly, the Celtics could hardly get anything to go in the opening 12 minutes. The team was 3-23 from the floor, shooting just 13 percent and it set the tone for the rest of the game.

They finished with a team field goal percentage of just 31.8 percent and an even worse three-point percentage at 17.9 percent. All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas had a team-high 16 points but even he had a bad shooting night as he went 4-for-19 at the Phillips Arena.

As bad as the Celtics were, the Hawks had a big part to play in this with some stifling defence which frustrated the visitors throughout the game. In the process, they set a franchise record for blocked shots at 15, with frontcourt duo Al Horford and Paul Millsap combining for nine of those and putting on a clinic in terms of rim protection.

Speaking after the game Celtics coach Stevens didn't make any excuses for the team's performance, instead deciding to acknowledge just how good the Hawks were.

“The way they outplayed us in every category in the first quarter,” he said. “I thought that was one team playing at a very elite level.”

“I think that tonight had a different feel than even the other night [in Game 1]. The other night it was one of those nights where we didn’t shoot it [well at first], like we had done some really good things and then once we started making shots we felt really good about our chances. Here, it never felt like we were at their level.”

After overcoming a 19-point deficit in game one before losing it down the stretch 102-101, Boston never got close to Mike Budenholzer's men after falling behind by 21 in that dismal opening period.

Many experts predicted this matchup to be the most evenly contested out of all the playoff ties after the two franchises finished the year with an identical 48-34 record, but so far it has proved anything but.

The C's will have to make a series of it at the TD Garden as it shifts to Boston for game three on Friday, or they will be staring a second consecutive first-round sweep in the face.

Avery Bradley
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Isaiah Thomas

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