Game 1 – Sun April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
CH’s Take: No real surprises here, as the Celtics-Hawks will be the only Eastern Conference series to open up on Sunday as opposed to Saturday, allowing one extra day of rest for the likes of Ray Allen and Greg Steimsma before the series begins. By the same token, once the series begins, there will be less rest for the C’s potentially in comparison to the other East matchups, as there will be only 1 two-day break for the Green (between Games 2 and 3), while all the other series have at least two such instances over the course of their seven games.
That being said, Rivers probably prefers the extra day of practice and preparation, as the C’s will practice today and likely tomorrow as well before heading down to Atlanta. And as many suspected, the resting of Pierce and Garnett ended up costing Boston a better chance at home-court advantage in the first round, but it’s a decision that Rivers is still happy with.
“Well, we’d rather not [open on the road.] Honestly. It would’ve been easier to open up at home, but we’re just not. We had to make tough choices, you know, looking at Kevin (Garnett) the way he ran today I was happy with the choice: he looked like his legs were back. And so for me, that answered the question. Then I looked at the scoreboard and I was hoping Dallas was winning the game so we could get everything. But, you know, listen, we’ve earned the road. Because of our record. You can look at games: we lost two in Toronto, we lost a lot of games early in the year, that is the reason we are on the road. So we earned that. And we’ll have to be ready for it.”
All fair points by Doc. Despite going 24-10 after the All-Star Break, Boston squandered away several opportunities at wins over the course of the season, so it’s tough to pin any real blame on the Atlanta situation, especially given the grueling stretch the team was coming off of. The fact of the matter is, Boston should be able to beat the Hawks even without home court, but now the margin of error is a bit less on the road through the Eastern Conference.