Postseason Game #2 – Home Game #2
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
8:00 PM ET
TNT, CSN HD
TD Banknorth Garden
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This was a key matchup in game 1 and will be a key match up in game 2. Rondo clearly came out on top in the first game and out-played Bibby on both ends of the court in his very first playoff game. Bibby is a veteran, though and will come back determined to play better and Rondo will need to elevate his game as well.
Al Horford had a very strong game and is one of the reasons that the Hawks were able to stay in the game as long as they did. Perk got into early foul trouble and that limited him in the first half, but he had a strong second half. Hopefully Perk can stay out of foul trouble and keep Horford off the boards.
Kevin Garnett vs Josh Smith
Smith is one of the Hawks best players but he had an off game due to foul trouble and allergy problems in game 1. The paper said he had an allergic reaction to something he ate at the hotel he was staying at. (When I read that, I thought of the movie Celtic Pride and some well meaning Celtics fan slipping something into his food.) Smith is a very athletic player and can block shots and defend along with grabbing rebounds and scoring inside. KG needs to make him work on both ends of the court and maybe get him in foul trouble again.
Keys to the game:
Rebound The Celtics were out rebounded 41-40 in the first game and allowed the Hawks to get second and third chance baskets. The Celtics need to be more aggressive on the boards. There is an old adage that says, "Offense sells tickets, defense wins games and rebounding wins championships." I think this is because much of rebounding is effort and the team that wins the rebounding war has put out the most effort.
Don't Underestimate the Hawks The Celtics had an easy time beating the Hawks in game one but they can't take them for granted. They have to take a lesson from their last playoff appearance where they won the first game against the Pacers and then lost the series. The Hawks will make adjustments and the Celtics have to be ready for that.
Be Aggressive The Celtics need to come out and be aggressive from start to finish. Even with a big lead, they can't let up. The Pistons had a big lead on the Sixers and let up and ended up losing the game. The Celtics need to come out strong and play hard for 48 minutes. I expect the Hawks to come out strong and the Celtics need to match that intensity. The Celtics need to be aggressive taking the ball to the hoop and aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds.
The Celtics bench out scored the Hawks bench 36-22 in the first game. If the Celtics bench continues to produce, they will be hard to beat. As Marc Spears said, when he is more famous than the players on the Hawks' bench, you know they are in trouble.