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Statement Game? Celtics 92, Hawks 97

 
Boston Celtics 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Atlanta Hawks
Sasha Pavlovic, SF 24 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | -7

Quiet game from Sasha. And honestly, he didn’t do anything cool enough to make my notepad.

Brandon Bass, PF 37 MIN | 4-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -8

Brandon Bass bludgeoned his field goal percentage to death with a shovel, then left it beside a dumpster behind Phillips Arena. He kept shooting even though the shots weren’t falling, most of them contested. Bass’ scouting report now consists of two words: Guard him.

Greg Stiemsma, C 10 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -11

No real playing time for Stiemsma tonight, so no real opportunity for him to do anything. However, in the opening minutes he made Jason Collins look like a 2001 version of Shaq, so there was that. Good that he got some rest along with everybody else.

Keyon Dooling, PG 32 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -15

Dooling had 10 first half points including a REALLY pretty floater that made me adjust my television set. His efficiency and leadership in this one was awesome. His perimeter defense was not.

Avery Bradley, SG 37 MIN | 12-22 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 28 PTS | -5

One of the toughest defenses in basketball knew he was coming and they couldn’t do anything about it. Bradley turned the corner tight like a grand prix driver, got to the basket at will, commanded his jumper, and had a career night when the Celtics needed it. Things are getting scary with this guy.

Marquis Daniels, SG 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +9

The most pleasant surprise of the game. Daniels initiated the offense and became Boston’s go-to scorer down the stretch. It’s still scary to see him run a fast break, but overall a pretty good game.

Ryan Hollins, C 30 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +4

Ryan Hollins made a casual appearance on the offensive glass which was really nice of him. (And by casual, I mean amazing.) Great hustle from Hollins who might’ve been motivated by the Sean Williams signing?

Sean Williams, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0

Not enough playing time to judge, but he was asked to defend the pick and roll on one possession and literally spun around in a circle.

JaJuan Johnson, F 15 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -3

We’re so used to seeing Kevin Garnett knock down that mid-range shot like it’s a layup. Johnson isn’t there yet. What I really liked though was some defensive versatility, stepping out on a trigger happy Vladimir Radmanovic and doing a pretty good job.

E’Twaun Moore, G 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +11

The one shot he hit was a huge corner three to cut Atlanta’s lead to one with under a minute left in the third quarter. Impressive shot. But on a macro-level, Moore plays too much like a baby deer curiously frolicking beside a freeway.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Celtics trailed by one point with 2:33 left in the game. Even those this game came so late in the season—with home court on the line—an optimistic and valid viewpoint could be that this was more about the process than the product. The end of the bench saw major minutes in a meaningful game against a defensively stout, playoff caliber team. The final score is meaningless here, the Celtics combined toughness with confidence tonight.
  2. Tommy Heinsohn quote of the night: “I love it when [Josh] Smith tries to be a playmaker” Smith ended with seven turnovers.
  3. This is the type of game thats going to make us re-think Avery Bradley’s ceiling. When placed in the proper context, could he end up being Danny Ainge’s smartest draft pick? Can he be an All-Star? Just such a wonderful performance from him tonight.
  4. The Celtics allowed 34 points in the first quarter alone, but coming out of the locker room after halftime, things were improved immensely. Atlanta scored just 39 points in the second half.
  • someguyinsac

    YAY! Moral victory at least. ;)

  • High Rollers

    Swag in an L? Nice.

  • ElRoz

    Nice to see Hollins and Dooling and Daniels get some minutes…they can play and they will provide a good cushion for the starters if needed.

    Boston has 2 first round draft picks this year…I want to wish Danny Ainge to have great luck and acumen and get the talent like Al Jefferson, Avery Bradley, and Rajon Rondo once again!

  • hansgruber

    I know you can't really tell from one 28 point game but it would be fantastic if Avery Bradley in a couple years turns out to be an all star and makes the future with him and Rondo seem even greater.

  • http://Lovemyceltics.blogspot.com mycelts

    DOC RIVERS: HAWKS ALL-TIME ASSISTS LEADER

    No Pietrus, Rondo, Pierce, KG, Ray,
    The "other" guys have to come to play!
    Though having home advantage would be best,
    Doc says health's more important, guys need rest.

    For calling the Cs old and the team a mess–
    Cs' motivation–KG thanked the press.
    Johnson, Smith and the Hawks have confidence for sure,
    Tonight none of the "Big Four" must they endure.

    Hawks to the rim, to the rim, Cs not much D, 
    Mid Q1 Marquis and Hollins we did see.
    Hawks (Joe) Johnson to (Ivan) Johnson, coast to coast,
    Of the Cs on the floor Bradley's scored the most.

    Cs down 7 to start Q2,
    Without Bradley and Bass what would we do?
    Hollins did ok, he dunked the ball twice, 
    E'Twaun and JaJuan together again– nice.

    Hawks have two, Cs have one–scouting report ,
    Talking about Johnsons at both ends of the court!
    A comment about Josh Smith, a guy I'm not fond o'
    He went to Oak Hill Academy with Rajon Rondo.

    Hawks Joe Johnson does it all, tonight he has threes,
    Leading that stat since the ASB, Bradley, of the Cs.
    Dooling came to life, he had a beautiful shot, 
    Sean Williams arrived today, a quick chance he got.

    Cs have no real chemistry, some rhythm they've found,
    At the half Cs down 9, hanging around.
    First half, fouls against the Cs 11 to 2,
    Bradley aggressive to the hoop, doing all he can do.

    On Bradley's back, Cs got within 4,
    Then the Cs turnovers made Doc sore.
    Tail end of the Cs bench is the first unit tonight,
    8-0 run by the Hawks, Cs (Bradley) continue to fight!

    Cs 13-4 run to end Q3, 
    Poor rhyme, but the Cs pull within 3!
    Pargo for three, Marquis with a steal, 
    Hollins good hustle, Dooling's for real.

    Bradley had a short rest, then came back in the game, 
    Then the Hawks for three–Willie Green is his name.
    'Quis in double figures, brought the Cs back to 1,
    At the other end a Johnson kept getting it done.

    Dooling good cut, then against the Cs a terrible call, 
    Hawks up 1, with 2:07 left, refs made it Hawks ball.
    Hawks by six, Cs have to get to the hoop, 
    You can feel the chemistry with this Cs bench group.

    On a night when Stiemsma could have gotten top billin'
    He was on the bench, not playing, just chillin'.
    Not much of a statement game for this Atlanta team, 
    Of losing to the Cs bench they would not dream!

    Cs fought hard, given all the guys they missed, 
    And Doc still holds the record for Hawks assists.

  • jimmy

    i still cant believe we forfeited home court advantage tho i mean we had a days rest and now get 3 off i guess just rest them the next 2 games since theres next 2 no chance we play in bos game 1

  • jimmy

    plus we coulda tried 2 help orl get the 5th seed cuz damn theyre an easy sweep in rd 1

  • GowGow

    Awesome win to the Cs. Yes, I said it right, we won.

    • felix

      my boys of the second unit just made me very proud! ATL doesn't look so tough anymore!

      • CelticsBIG3

        When did the ATL ever look tough?

        • felix

          well all games against them have been rough so far….i'd much rather have orlando in the first round.

    • High Rollers

      We win before we even take the floor these days. That's what the regular season is for, isn't it? To build confidence within and reputation without. Now if we could just get Ray's ankle to cooperate…

  • skeeds

    So mid April has finally come… We're locked at the 4th seed, we're resting our 4 best players, Bradley's leading the team, and we just nearly won against our 1st round matchup…
    This is NOT how I expected things to be. It's awesome!!!

    I think the only way things could go better now, is Miami catching up to Chicago for 1st place. Which is plausible, since they still have the Mavs and Indy to play, and are only 1 game ahead… They're the only team we haven't solved yet, so I'd be happy if we didn't see them till the conference finals!!!

  • IBleedGreen

    If Celtics lose to Atlanta…in Atlanta…in game 7 we’ll be talking about this game then…Consider there are 3 days rest after this game I still think we should try to win it.

  • SteveB

    Please get over the home court in the first round issue. Even though the Hawks are a tough first round opponent that's who we are playing. They know they can beat the Hawks with or without home court. But the big thing is this, after the first round the team does not have home court anyway, barring some major upset. May as well go into the playoffs rested with your rotations in order. The goal is not to "escape" the first round, it is banner #18. The only way to accomplish that is on the road, might as well start there.

  • -jp

    The hawks are not that great, only team I would rather play is the Magic. They can beat the Celtics, but without Horford its not likely

  • tbunny

    Does no one see the gigantic mind game the celtics played last night? Doc just said to Atlanta: we don't need home court. We're sending out the second unit to play you. This game is meaningless to us. Pretty bold move I think.

    • JCP

      Not to mention the message that our second unit can hang with your starters…

  • LACelticFan

    Statement game indeed!!!! Doc: we almost beat you with our breaking out 2nd year guard and a bench of role players. The post Big3 era is starting to look interesting. Hope we still make a push for Mayo/Gordon and Kaman/BLopez. Four draft picks and 30million dollars laying around could make for some good moves in the summer.

    • yeah

      Kris Humphries at center lol. Could happen

  • I_Love_Green

    I'm embarrassed for Atlanta.

    • High Rollers

      Don't be too embarrassed for ATL. The Celts have been beaten a number of times by teams without their best guys on the floor. We just haven't done it lately. Timing is everything. (One exception would be the Chicago game, I guess. But they way they play without Rose, I'm not sure it really counts in this category.)

      The point is, we're playing the right way at the right time. Thank the basketball gods, Doc's dry-erase board, and KG's chi.

  • High Rollers

    Have to give a shout-out to 'Quis. His hands were everywhere last night, forcing turnovers and foisting general chaos upon the Highlight Factory. He made plenty of mistakes, granted, but he played like he was on a mission. That's pretty much all you can ask. Well, that and don't shoot another three, please.

    • CG12

      I was also pleased to see a flash of the old Quisy last night. But he should never, ever, shoot 3s.

  • Lantrell Walker

    Choosing health over home court is a wise move by Doc, this team can win anywhere against anyone & they've won a lot of big games on the road before. The Knicks in '99 didn't have home court the entire playoffs and they made it all the way to the Finals w/o Patrick Ewing. The C's two years ago didn't have home court after the 1st round, but they still won big games in Cleveland, Orlando and Game 2 in L.A. This dark horse is ready to roll and it's well primed to crush the dreams of the likes of Miami and Chicago.

    #WeBelieveIn18

  • http://twitter.com/kevincote @kevincote

    Gotta get a video posted with Avery's shoe tying steal. Boy has he come alive, nice shooting stroke, explosive first step and a pitbull on D. Just great to see the young kid get it rolling. If he keep working at his game he's going to be a legit starter in the future.

    With Steimsma's development into a legit rotation big Doc has really done a nice job with the young talent. If Moore, JJJ, Hollins or Williams can catch on we will have some nice youth & depth for next yr.

    • Sean

      I don't know if I would put that on Doc. Maybe on coaching them, sure. But they largely developed (it would seem) from seeing floor time, and gaining confidence from that. And that was a product of injuries forcing Doc to play them than anything else.

      I'm curious to see if this squashed and shortened season has led to (in a positive way) Bradley and Steimsma's growth in confidence and emergence more than anything. Great silver lining.

  • yeah

    Yes, post the shoe-tie steal please.

  • High Rollers

    If I'm Ray Allen, then there's a chance there are three words swirling in my head lately… pine, swelling, Mayo.

    I hope he uses it as fuel when he inevitably plays on that ankle. Might as well take a few pages from Rondo's book.

  • High Rollers

    Last thing about Ray. I don't understand all this "I'm not a starter on this team anymore, woe is me" business. (Hopefully it's mostly the media making that up. Hopefully.)

    On this team there are only three indubitable HOFers at the moment. And Ray is one of them. How in the world could you feel like anything other than one of the Triumvirate in that locker room, coming off that pine or even in front of those cameras if you're Ray Ray? He'd have to be pretty unsure about himself, and after all this time, I just can't believe that's true.

    I'm sure there's maneuvering that must be done for the offseason and the business side of things. But as for the here and now, Ray's bound to be feeling just like every other baller who's kept off the court with an injury. He's just anxious to play.

    • Sean

      Where are you getting the "woe-is-me" shtuff from?

  • red

    I wonder about Ray`s future, but also Bradley's. Bradley is really good at the moment and in the off season Ainge will get offers pouring in for him from teams like philly who are trying to move Iggy. I think philly would throw in a draft pick or two as well for Bradley. I hope Ainge stands pat with the young guys and resigns Kg. I have given up hope of Ray's return, but I am extremely happy for his years a celtic and hope when he goes into the hall he does i as a celtic, but I wouldn't be mad at him if he decided to be inducted as a Super Sonic.
    Ray is great always has been, but honestly his skill set right now is as a bench player and that is not only just for this team, but really any team in the nba without dwight howard or Andrew Bynum, Ray gives the most coming off the bench.

  • High Rollers

    @Sean Not a direct Ray quote. Just the tone of a number of recent articles discussing what has been perceived as Ray’s demotion. He’s fed it a bit with remarks about going where he will be “cherished” (direct quote), but that doesn’t mean the media has to be so simplistic in interpreting those remarks.

  • High Rollers

    @Sean To be sure, there’s also a lot of respect out there for Ray. And deservedly so, of course. Consummate professional.

  • pam

    anyone have any news on the health of al horford? i really wouldnt want kg guarding him in the playoffs. need him throttling josh smith or destroying zaza!

  • Your Roomate

    Bro Brandon Bass a D+? I didnt even watch the game or look at his numbers but a D+? Come on man you know he is on my fantasy team and your disrespecting him like that.

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