Monday, April 28
8:00 PM ET
TV: TNT & CSN (HD)
Before Game 2 of this first round series, talk of the Celtics sweeping the young Atlanta Hawks was flaring both locally and nationally. Atlanta put it all to rest, however, with a nine-point victory on their home floor. Mike Woodson’s club dictated the tempo of the game, and came out with a different mindset than they had during the first two games of the series – attack. Atlanta got out in transition nicely, attacked the basket, moved the ball extremely well, played pesky defense, and were absolutely dialed in from long distance. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith buried eight three’s combined, helping Atlanta hit 10 of 18 from beyond the arc as a team. The Celtics were completely out of whack on the defensive end, and Atlanta took advantage of it.
Offensively, the only Celtic who matched Atlanta’s attack mindset was Kevin Garnett, who scored 32 points and shot 10-11 from the free throw line. The rest of the team tended to settle, and guys like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo had well below-par outings. As Doc Rivers stated, it seemed as though everybody was trying to get their own game going rather than moving the ball as a team (something the Celtics have done well all year).
After two days of reflection and preparation, it’s safe to expect the Celtics to come out with an extraordinary level of focus and intensity. Let’s hope the men in green can push this series to 3-1 before heading home for Game 5.
C Kendrick Perkins / Al Horford
PF Kevin Garnett / Josh Smith
SF Paul Pierce / Marvin Williams
SG Ray Allen / Joe Johnson
PG Rajon Rondo / Mike Bibby
Key Matchup: Paul Pierce vs. Marvin Williams
Let’s face it, Paul’s "no harm done" attitude towards Al Horford’s actions after Game 3 were nothing more than a cover up. Clearly, Pierce was unhappy with the rookie’s gestures, and "The Truth" is not a guy you want to fire up in the playoffs. Expect the captain to come out with a vengeance. Good luck, Marvin.
Celtics X-Factor: Defense
In Game 3, Atlanta had their way on the offensive end. They got out in transition when they wanted to, they attacked when they wanted to, and they were able to get a plethora of wide open looks from the perimeter in the halfcourt setting. That was not Boston Celtics defense. Tonight, they need to make sure they do all of the things they’ve done all season long on the defensive end, and get the job done. Do not allow them to run you ragged, clean up the defensive rotations, take care of the defensive glass, and close out on shooters. If the Celtics do that, they’ll be in good shape.
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
ATL – Speedy Claxton (left knee – out for season)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Dictate the Tempo
- Attack Offensively
- Ball Control
- Contain Atlanta’s Offensive Glass
- Bench Play (someone step up)
- 48-Minute Energy