The Celtics played good basketball for about a quarter and a half last night. That just won’t get it done especially on the road, especially on the road in Atlanta. Where do I even begin? The score at the end of 1 was 19-17 Hawks. Good defense? I wouldn’t go there. Both teams were shooting terrible with many open shots. I would say at that juncture in the game, the C’s were lucky to not be down 30-17 or vice versa. Boston really turned it on in the 2nd quarter, but as they have been known to do, switched that off in a hurry after coming back onto the court after the half.
The Celtics went into the half up by 6. At 6 minutes in the 3rd, after Atlanta had gone on a 20 to 6 run, the Celtics were down by 8. The Celtics became 1-dimensional as all the sudden baskets were not being created via the pass, but instead by someone trying to make a move on their defender. Atlanta shot lights out, which is partially good fortune on their part but also lackluster effort by the men in green to close on their guy.
As the fourth quarter rolled around, I forced myself to believe the Celtics could come back. I had all but given up on them 2 nights before in Miami when they were down 11 in the fourth. I always continue to watch because I know anything can happen and they have it in them, its just if they want to bring it out. Tonight they were down big in the 4th and I said they could do it. Slowly but surely they began to cut into the lead. However, the lead was insurmountable, and they could never take the lead. Hey, if you are a team that holds off and only plays when you NEED to on the road, your team is not going to win to many games. The Celtics were lucky two nights ago, and not so lucky tonight. They almost stole one they certainly should not have won.
When it came down to it at the end, and the Celtics needed a big stop, they got it, however were soon thereafter out hustled by the Hawks in getting the rebound. Not once, but twice did the Hawks miss a shot and get their own rebound with under 2 minutes left, and the Celtics only down 3. Like I said in the podcast, this would be a huge key to this game, and unfortunately it turned out to be the case.
Was this an impressive win by the Hawks? Not at all and I won’t act like it was a damaging loss for the Celtics either. It just happens to add 1 loss to the Celtics column, and 1 to the Hawks win Column. After losing 6 of their last 9, the Hawks should have came out and asserted themselves against the banged and bruised Celtics. In what has become somewhat of a rivalry you would think the Hawks would want to destroy Boston. Instead, they too came out flat and did not play like a team that should have their name and “championship” thrown around in the same sentence.
For now I can’t complain. I said it would be huge if the C’s COULD grab both games in Miami and Atlanta. They didn’t and so what. 5 days ago I expected them to lose 1 of the 2 anyway. The Celtics head to Toronto Sunday before heading back home to play these same Hawks on Monday. If they grab the win against the Raptors, I am confident they can sweep all of the games this upcoming week. One game at a time, though.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)