The Hawks’ Danilo Gallinari puts on a historic shooting performance to send the Celtics to their fourth loss in five games

As part of their major offseason overhaul, the Atlanta Hawks gave Danilo Gallinari a three-year, $ 61.5 million contract because they believed it could help them emerge from irrelevance and return to the playoff scene. But even they couldn’t have expected nights like Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, especially after the way Gallinari had started the season.

Abandoned early on due to injuries, Gallinari hasn’t found his groove in Atlanta. He’s shooting 40.9 percent from the field and scoring just 11.8 points per game, his worst since his rookie season in which he barely played. Going into the game against the Celtics, he had 51 points and made 12 of 45 shots from the field in his last five games combined.

So it was a huge shock when he received standing ovations and set records on Wednesday. But maybe all he needed was a game against the Celtics. Setting a new Hawks record With 10 3-pointers, Gallinari worked his way to a season-high 38 points and led the Hawks to a 127-112 victory. He also became the third player in NBA history to hit at least 10 3-pointers in a game after coming off the bench.

To give you an idea of ​​how much he was feeling, at one point in the second quarter he served without hesitation from behind the mark with 15 seconds on the shot clock. And yes, that one came in.

Gallinari was feeling it

This was just a pure shooting clinic from Gallinari, who remarkably scored 16 percent of his total season points in this game. Right away, this performance was a reminder of why the Hawks were so eager to sign him and how poor he has been for most of the season.

But for as many incredible shots as he made, Gallinari also benefited from poor perimeter defense from the Celtics, who haven’t been able to stop anyone lately and, in turn, haven’t been able to win. With losses in four of their last five games and 11 of their last 16, the Celtics have fallen below .500 on the season.

Earlier this month, after a major loss to the Washington Wizards, Kemba Walker said “it can’t get any worse than this,” but the Celtics have proven him wrong. They are now 15-17 and tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference. If the season ends today, they will head to the entry tournament.

To be fair, they have been decimated by injuries, and Jayson Tatum recently said that he is still having trouble breathing after a fight with COVID-19 earlier this season. Still, this is not where anyone would have expected the Celtics to be at this point in the season.

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