Game four of the series between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks was to come to a head tonight. Tonight was supposed to be a turning point in the series for both teams. For Boston, they could use this game to put a chokehold on an Atlanta Hawks team that still has a little fight left in them. Atlanta was to take this opportunity to get swing homecourt and the momentum of the series back to the Highlight Factory in Atlanta.
Boston was able to come out on top of the Hawks 101-79 and they could do no wrong for the whole game. The intensity was definitely there from the very beginning. With the Celtics at full strength with Ray Allen back in the line-up at 100% they were able to score easily and Rondo was able to get into a rhythm in facilitating shots for his scorers.
Atlanta was trying to keep up early, but they couldn’t. The lead increased to 10, then 20, then 30. Paul Pierce couldn’t miss, even after an injury in the game. He managed to score 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting in only 17 minutes played. Pierce and Rondo set the pace for what the Celtics were going to do all night long, and they did it early.
Rondo finished the game with 20 points and 16 assists. What was astounding about the way he played was how confident he was in his jumper all night long. I’ve always been a believer that Rondo’s jumper wasn’t as broken as some of the critics think it is, tonight he made me look good. Rondo made six shots outside of the painted area, all from above 18 feet. Overall he was six of seven when shooting jump shots. He even added two threes to that total.
Confidence seemed to be oozing out of the Celtics tonight as they were all knocking down their jump shots. A lot of what Boston does is predicated off of the mid-range area of the floor. That’s common for a team who is getting older and can’t get to the rim as easily as they could before, but tonight was simply spectacular. Out of 101 points, Boston only scored 26 of them in the pain. They went 11 of 26 from beyond the arch as well.
While this isn’t a common night for the Celtics at all, they’ve shown us why they should still be a team that is feared throughout the league and why they can still make a run to the NBA finals.
Al Horford returned to the Atlanta Hawks tonight after not having played on an NBA floor since January. He posted 12 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of play. Look for him to start, possibly, in Atlanta’s Do-or-Die game five. Game five is on Tuesday at 8 P.M Eastern time on TNT.