The Hawks made a number of adjustments to their starting lineup and rotations. In part because of players becoming healthy and available again and in part to shake things up to get a spark to figure out the Celtics. For the most part, it worked.
"(Hollins) was terrific. He was out there in place of Stiemsma and Brandon (Bass) -- everybody -- and his energy was great," said Rivers. "The one thing you know when Ryan comes into the game is that something is going to happen -- it could be good or bad -- but something is going to happen. That’s why we put him in and we rode him. "He’s an instigator with how hard he plays. He gets under people’s skin and that’s fine by us."
As well as Hollins played, it is hard not to scratch your head and wonder why more time couldn't have gone to Stiemsma. At first I thought he was hurt or limited, but it sounds like it was Doc's call not to play him. Was he just playing badly? Not so says Jay King.
In four minutes, Stiemsma missed one defensive rotation, made one turnover, blocked a Josh Smith dunk, altered three separate Atlanta layups to force misses, deflected a pass to cause a steal, almost blocked Joe Johnson’s floater in the lane, grabbed one offensive rebound to keep a possession alive and added a defensive rebound, which came after one of the three shots he altered. His final impression of the night came while blocking Josh Smith’s attempted dunk, which helped to cover up Brandon Bass’ defensive inadequacy on the possession in question. I still don’t know why Hollins played all Stiemsma’s minutes from that point forward.
It was a close game and it could have gone either way. Would an extra Stiemsma altered shot have made the difference? Or was Ryan really the spark that allowed the Celtics to stay in the game that long?
Losses create second guessing. The best cure for that is to win.