Celtics Outrebounded, Outplayed In Loss To Hawks

The Boston Celtics got flat out beaten by the Atlanta Hawks Friday night, 97-86. It was the second loss of the year for the Celtics, and their second loss as home. The story tonight was offensive rebounds and second chance points, and unfortunately, the Celtics gave up many of them.

After giving up 17 offensive rebounds to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, the Celtics let the Hawks rip down 16 offensive rebounds Friday night, en route to 22 second chance points.

"You can't run a game getting outrebounded 47-29," Kevin Garnett said. "You know, they're getting to the basket- and rebounding is a group effort and it starts with the bigs, so the bigs got to do a better job of doing just that."

Ray Allen added, "I think rebounding ultimately is what kept them in the game, early. And starting off the third quarter getting second chance opportunities and then [the Hawks] were moving the ball. There was a possession where they might have gotten two or three shots at the rim, and end up ultimately getting the basket. So you can't win that way."

The Celtics entered the game ranked 28th in the league in total rebounds and last in offensive rebounds. Doc Rivers states that while the big guys do need to grab rebounds, the blame cannot fall completely on them.

"When you don't put bodies on athletic guys, you're going to give up points. And unfortunately I think everyone will say it was our bigs, our bigs. But out bigs weren't helped all night because the guards were getting beat off the dribble all night. And so a lot of those offensive rebounds were guards that should have put bodies on guys."

The Celtics' first loss came in a stretch of numerous games in a short amount of time. Asked whether or not this loss felt different from the loss to Phoenix, Doc Rivers was quick to state that it did not, and that they aren't using any excuses for either of their losses.

"No, I just think they kicked our butt, honestly," Rivers admitted. "I think they were better tonight... We were fresh and well-practiced; they just beat us- and so did Phoenix... We've lost two games. We didn't lose them because of any sinister reasons. Phoenix beat us, and Atlanta beat us. And they beat us with their play. They came in with a game plan. They ran it to perfection. We came in with a game plan and we didn't do it very well in both games really."

Rasheed Wallace credits the Hawks for figuring out that using the isolation would be successful against the Celtics.

"They knew we were a good defensive team and they had a lot of isolation guys, you know, going one-on-one," Wallace said. "And anytime you have a team like that, it forces the other defensive guys to step up and, you know, that's leaving our man behind us for the offensive rebound or a tip just to keep the ball alive."

Head Coach Mike Woodson was very proud of his team after the game, and rightfully so. Tonight was a huge win for the Hawks, who can use this game as a measuring stick for how they compare to one of the best teams in the league.

"You know it's not easy winning in this building," Woodson stated. "And for our guys to step up tonight, and come in here, because I think this is the best team in the East, I really do... But tonight we matched them from beginning to end, and I thought the third and fourth quarter like we did in New York the other night, we really stepped it up from a defensive standpoint and were able to secure the win."

Paul Pierce left the game towards the end of the third quarter but returned to the bench before the fourth quarter began.

"It's a little tender," Pierce said. I'm just going to wait to see how it feels when it cools down. On the play I was falling down and my foot got stepped on, sort of turned it so it was a light sprain in the knee."

Pierce played roughly 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, scoring six of his 24 on the night. With those 24 points, Pierce moved into 49th place on the all-time scoring list with 18,790 points, passing Bob McAdoo. Sitting at 48th all-time is Isiah Thomas with 18,822 points.

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