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Celtics Rekindle Rivalry with Hawks

Everything the first round Atlanta Hawks - Boston Celtics playoff series should be it isn’t. Atlanta’s stars are young and experienced enough to sweep an aging Boston squad. Swap the ages of the Celtics Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce with the Hawks Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague and Boston runs away with both of the first two games.

Atlanta did enough of the right things in Game 1 to take an 83-74 win despite an 11 point performance from Joe Johnson. Josh Smith scored 9 points leading five other Hawks scorers on the way to a 31-18 lead in the first quarter. Garnett and Pierce combined for just 4 points on 2 of 11 shooting.

It was a totally different first quarter in Game 2 as Boston rallied late in the 4 th quarter to down Atlanta 87-80. This time Pierce kept the game from getting away with 13 points in the 1 st quarter. By the end of the half the Celtics trailed by only 4 points opposed to the 14 they trailed by in Game 1.

The difference in the two games came down to the pace of the game and the play of the bench. It should not have come as a surprise that Coach Doc Rivers would make those adjustments in Game 2. “I thought overall, I thought we didn’t give our offense a chance to develop,” said Rivers following Game 1. “I thought we were a first option team and you have to shoot the heck out of the ball to win the game.”

Boston turned Game 2 into a half court contest where the aging Pierce and Garnett were well suited in matchups. Despite a dramatically uncharacteristic third quarter in which the Hawks outscored an opponent, the Celtics stayed the course. With just under 3 minutes remaining in the third, Boston began whittling on the 11 point deficit cutting it in half by the end of the quarter. Avery Bradley tied the game at 66-66 three minutes into the fourth with his 12 th point of the game.

In the half court set Boston was able to double their attempts and points from the free throw line. Pierce benefitted greatly as the career 80% free throw shooter bettered his 3 attempts in Game 1 by 10.

Boston’s bench played 12 more minutes and contributed 10 more points to negate the play of the Hawks bench. Game 2 favored Boston defensively as well. The Celtics pulled down 12 more rebounds than their opponents on the defensive glass and held Atlanta to six percentage points below their Game 1 40.8% field goal percentage.

The series moves to The Garden for a pair before returning for Game 5 in Atlanta.






GAME 1: BOSTON - ATLANTA

Celtics 74 - Hawks 83




  • Boston F Paul Pierce gets loose for an uncontested dunk.

  • Celtics G Rajon Rondo spins and goes under the attempted block of Hawks G Kirk Hinrich.

  • Boston F Paul Pierce winces and grabs his knee but fails draw the foul.

  • Hawks C Jason Collins challenges the layup from Celtics F Paul Pierce.

  • Celtics C Greg Stiemsma blocks the shot from Hawks G Tracy McGrady.

  • Celtics G Mickael Pietrus stuffs the attempted layup from Hawks G Joe Johnson.

  • Celtics F Brandon Bass goes up over Hawks C Jason Collins for a layup.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague extends to the basket beyond the reach of Celtics F Brandon Bass.

  • Hawks C wrestles the rebound away from Celtics G Avery Bradley.

  • Boston F Kevin Garnett converts the alley oop.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague fights to maintain possession after losing his balance.

  • Hawks F Josh Smith stuffs Paul Pierce's jump shot.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague extends for a layup over Celtics F Brandon Bass.

  • Hawks F Josh Smith drives the lane against the Celtics defense.

  • Celtics F Kevin Garnett swats the reverse layup from Hawks F Ivan Johnson.

  • Celtics F Brandon Bass contests the layup from Hawks G Jannero Pargo.

  • Celtics F Brandon Bass contests the layup from Hawks G Jannero Pargo.

  • Celtics F Brandon Bass wrestles with Hawks F Josh Smith for the ball and gets called for the foul that precipitated the ejection of Rajon Rondo.

  • Celtics F Brandon Bass wrestles with Hawks F Josh Smith for the ball and gets called for the foul that precipitated the ejection of Rajon Rondo.




GAME 2: BOSTON - ATLANTA

Celtics 87 - Hawks 80

  • Hawks F Josh Smith misses the reverse dunk off the break.

  • Boston G Avery Bradley goes up for a shot over three Hawks defenders.

  • Hawks F Tracy McGrady swats the ball out of the hands of Celtics F Kevin Garnett from behind.

  • Hawks G Joe Johnson glides in for a layup.

  • Celtics F Paul Pierce squeezes off a shot between Hawks forwards Marvin Williams and Josh Smith.

  • Hawks F Josh Smith goes up for a reverse layup between two Celtics defenders.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague flies in for a dunk.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague and Celtics F Paul Pierce battle for a loose ball in the air.

  • Hawks F Josh Smith goes over the defense of Celtics F Brandon Bass for a layup.

  • Celtics F Paul Pierce glides to the basket for a layup.

  • Celtics G Avery Bradley swats away the shot of Hawks G Kirk Hinrich

  • Celtics F Marquis Daniels slams over Hawks G Kirk Hinrich.

  • Celtics F Kevin Garnett challenges the pull up jumper of Hawks G Joe Johnson.

  • Celtics F Paul Pierce throws down 2 of his game high 36 points.

  • Hawks F Ivan Johnson gets his shot thrown back by Celtics F Kevin Garnett.

  • Hawks G Jeff Teague goes up for a layup over Celtics F Kevin Garnett.




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