The Celtics entered this game down two star starters and facing a possible 0-2 hole. They leave the game with home court advantage stolen, Rondo coming back (angry and rested), Joe Smith hurt, and all the momentum in the series.
One of the keys heading into the game was getting a great game out of Paul Pierce. Done and then some. Right from the opening tip, which he stole and took in for the layup. He scored more points in the first quarter than he did in the first game. Then when his team needed him the most, he finished out the game in style, ending with 36 points and 14 rebounds. About the only blip on his box score was the 8 turnovers but that is going to happen when you ask a guy to carry you all the way back from an 11 point second half deficit all by himself.
Well, that might be a tad unfair. Avery Bradley had a heck of a game as well, nearly matching the surprising Jeff Teague with aggressive play and lighting quick drives. And Keyon Dooling (of all people) finally ended the 3 point shooting drought in the 3rd quarter.
And I would be remiss not to mention the smothering, suffocating, frustrating defense that the Celtics used to come back and take the lead. The Hawks were clearly frustrated and flustered on offense by the end of the game. Such a beautiful thing to behold.
But in the end, this was all about the Captain willing his team to a victory in another vintage Truth performance. It isn't clear how hurt Josh Smith is, but the fact that he came out of the game with 4 minutes left in a tight game is telling.
Momentum has officially shifted back to Boston. Bring on game 3.