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The Captain Saves: C’s 87 Hawks 80

Boston Celtics 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
80 Atlanta Hawks
Paul Pierce, SF 44 MIN | 12-26 FG | 11-13 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 36 PTS | +4

Paul Pierce owned this game. He dominated it. Without him, the Celtics lose by 20. Hell, for much of the first half he was the only Celtic with any kind of offensive mojo at all. Then he played the entire second half on his way to 44 minutes (after 42 minutes Sunday), 36 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 13 trips to the free throw line. A+ doesn’t do him justice given how decimated his team was tonight. Even with the turnovers.

Brandon Bass, PF 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -5

He made some crucial mistakes on defense and, without someone creating open looks for him, turned in his second straight single-digit scoring night when the Celtics desperately needed offense from him. Basically, he’s been part of the problem so far on both ends of the court.

Kevin Garnett, PF 40 MIN | 5-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | +10

KG has struggled against Smith and with the pace of the game. He’s looked, at times, overwhelmed, although just like in game one, he locked in by the second half and triggered the second half defensive shutdown of the Hawks. He also made just enough moves to the basket to help Pierce out. The Celtics needed more from him on offense tonight but he worked the glass (including a couple of impressive contested rebounds) and exhausted himself on defense.

Mickael Pietrus, SF 19 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4

Clueless and ineffective for most of this one. When he wasn’t in foul trouble he seemed spaced out until Doc and KG ripped into him and got him locked in on defense. His long distance shooting is in freefall but his size helped against Johnson (in part because it allows Pierce to cover Marvin Williams).

Avery Bradley, SG 42 MIN | 4-8 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +8

He saved the Celtics with his transition defense a couple of times and covered up for Bass’ mistakes in the halfcourt defense. Plus, he got to the line 8 times on 8 field goal attempts, which is exactly what this team needs. Was terrifyingly fast in transition even when he was out of control.

Keyon Dooling, PG 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | 0

Two HUGE three-balls and some competitive, if not exactly stellar defense against speedier competition.

Marquis Daniels, SG 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +11

From the grave (!) came Daniels to be a key part of the fourth quarter defensive stand. He even added a bit on the offensive end. His line score really doesn’t do his effort justice.

Ryan Hollins, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +5

A short but sprightly stint for Hollins who even pulled down a couple of rebounds.

Sasha Pavlovic, SF 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +3

Looked overmatched on defense in the first half.

Greg Stiemsma, C 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5

Too slow, not a factor and mostly bound to the pine in this one. But he had a good game one so this may prove an aberration.

  • skeeds

    Stroooongly disagree about Pietrus. He might've not contributed as much as any of us wanted, but he was instrumental in destroying the Hawks offense through the 4th quarter, guarding Joe Johnson most of the time.
    If Hollins gets a B for 6 minutes of "meh" playing, MP should at least get a C+.

    • Ryan DeGama

      The only thing he did in the first half was weaken the Celtics — when he was even capable of being on the floor with all those fouls. To the point where his coach and teammates had to get his head in the game because he wasn't focused. Agreed about the late-game defense but he was a problem tonight.

      • tbunny

        He only played about six minutes in the first half. Also, after his second foul, it looked like Doc wanted to pull him, but Pietrus waved him off. Like he was saying no I got this, no more fouls. Then literally the next possession they called him on a rinky dink push. I can understand that might mess up a player who wants to come out strong. He literally sat out the rest of the first half (unless he snuck in for a minute that I didn't see).

    • ElRoz

      Hollins' task is go in and bang a bit and get some boards; much more is expected of Pietrus, that's why he gets a low grade. Otherwise, With Pietrus, Daniels, Dooling I'm mostly satisfied with their D – this is the one area that we can expect some improvement over Ray Allen (though he is not a bade defender).

      I don't know what to say about Sasha, except he seems somewhat delirious and afraid to be out there…but does help occasionally.

      Brandon Bass is rather ineffective or absent, especially considering his size, athleticism, and his body – you look at him and think this guy will be a big factor, but then he steps on the court and kinda disappears. Maybe Rondo can get him to score more.

      So, a bench of Dooling, Daniels, Pietrus, Stiemsma/Hollins (with about 20 min between the last two guys) might be tolerable I think, at least when they play good D.

      • skeeds

        Great point about Bass. I'd give him a much lower mark compared to Pietrus simply because he did almost nothing of significance.

        MP might've hurt at the first half by practically fouling himself out, but at least he put 10 good minutes of lockdown defense down the stretch, and after all did his part in turning the game around. I can appreciate that, even though it was still a lackluster effort on his behalf.

  • Anthony

    If Josh Smith is injured, maybe the Celts can finish off the Hawks in 5 and get some extra rest. Also, it looks like the Chi-Phi will be longer than expected with Rose's injury and the Bulls poor performance today. Philly really ran them out the gym in the 2nd half.

    Any chance we can see video of the AB blocks?

  • HUGE win tonight by the Cs…. much grit and toughness on this squad. Very impressive win. Having some 3 balls finally going was a big boost for these guys – at one point they were 1-20 on 3 balls for the series. Hard to win games when you shoot five percent from 3 range.

    Bass is really, really struggling right now. He's frustrating to watch. Without Rondo to create him wide open looks he's trying to force and becoming stale on offense – and that seems to be affecting his level of defensive energy. One play in particular where he forced up an ugly contested shot, didn't get back, and let his man get a wide open lay up in transition in particular was disgusting. Like go sit on the bench in the 4th quarter type of disgusting. He's got to get Rondo back and bring more energy.

    • ElRoz

      True, w/o Rondo Bass is 1/2 of Bass on offense….as for not running back on D: unacceptable.

  • I_Love_Green

    "44 mins tonite to old for this I need a bed right now !!"

    And you deserve it Paul! Helluva an effort tonight!

  • mmTOS

    I'd lower Sasha's grade, he missed two open threes. Shots we need him to knock down.

    I agree with the rest, though Pietrus had moments where he looked good defensively, but offensively he just didnt show up.

  • Zee

    Great win, but very disappointed with two players: Pietrus and Bass.

    Pietrus is shooting horribly and his defense is sorely lacking.

    Bass is cool offensively, but his defense needs to sharpen up.

  • monty

    do you think stiemsma's issues and low minutes had more to do with the injuries he's been struggling with lately?

    • onecowboytoo

      He could just have the playoff yips. Maybe another game or two to settle his nerves.

    • CG12

      This series just isn't great, match-up-wise, for the Stiemer. The Hawks use a lot of quicker, small-ball guys on their front line, so that Big Greg probably won't play a ton this series. I imagine you would see more of him against a team like Chicago.

  • Anthony

    I took this from an ESPN posts. New quotes from the guy who brought us "Bar fight" and "Anything is possible", the one and only KG:

    "We're all grit and balls. That's what we are".
    "Rondo is the head that forms Voltron, the Black Lion."


  • High Rollers
    • Anthony

      KG and Ray need to retire as Celtics.

      • CelticsBIG3

        God KG is awesome. He gives the best interviews of any baller ever, hands down.
        "Kid is young doesn't know his left from his right"
        – in reference to Ivan Johnson who has NO business talking about who's a dirty player, period.

  • lakershater13

    Anyone think the Cs should sit Rondo the next game too…? No. Okay just checking.

    Vintage Pierce is awesome to see. I'm sure the rest of the guys on the team will start hitting shots at home. C's win the series in 5 easy. If Smith comes back healthy maybe the Hawks steal one more at home.

  • janos

    We are back. I was never doubt.

  • GowGow

    Play of the Night: Paul Pierce's tebow.

  • lucidsportsfan

    C's got some huge contributions from very unlikely places: http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_04_29_archive….

  • felix

    j smith checking out late in the 4th wasn't the reason the Cs won, just making sure!! The truth and nothing but the truth was playing on a level nobody else was on in the second half! exciting stuff!!

  • -jp

    Can’t say enough about The Truth, just amazing. I wanted to mention Marquis though, I thought his defense on Johnson was really spectacular, and he really did well even if he wasn’t involved in the offense. Great win, let’s hold home court!

  • CG12

    One of the best things about this team is that you can see how the thought that management put into having better chemistry and more true professionals is really paying off. Dooling, Pietrus, and Pavlovic are guys who are going to bring it and play team basketball every night. There is a big difference between this bench and, say, Nate Robinson, Big Baby, Delonte, and others, who I mostly liked, but who were a bit squirrely and you just didn't know if you could count on them to do their jobs. Dooling plays with great energy and confidence. Pietrus can (and does) guard 4 positions. Pavlovic plays rugged D and can actually make an occasional play on offense, like the nice "show and go" move he put on last night. Just really impressive.

  • W2.

    Quis! Told my wife in the first quarter my man would swing this game if given the chance. I think the last week of the regular season got him going. Roll Celts.

    • NorthernGreen

      I feel the same about Quis. It was just a matter of time. He isn't given enough credit. Go Celtics!!!

  • tbunny

    My god Bradley is quick. Doc was yelling at him to bring it up fast and he would start off like a shot.

  • OKCeltic

    When I saw the replays of Josh Smith's injury, it brought back flashbacks of when Bynum hurt Perkin's knee. Nothing dirty, just bad luck.

  • red

    if we could ever get Pierce and Rondo playing to their highest level of play at the same time this team would be unstoppable. Ray has played his last game this season and maybe as a celtic as I don`t envision these bone spurs getting any better without surgery. It is sad to see Ray go, but nice to see AB terrorizing the league.