Doc Rivers said everyone, including Pierce, is expected to play tonight #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) May 8, 2012
Pierce and Allen moving just fine as morning shootaround begins in Atlanta.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) May 8, 2012
Anyone concerned with Ray's ankles, Avery's shoulder, and Paul's knee can breath a sigh of relief. All the Boston beats are reporting that everybody's a go for tonight's close out game in Atlanta, including several of the Hawks.
Looking for a jolt, Hawks will go with Teague, Johnson, Williams, Smith and Horford as starters in Game 5.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) May 8, 2012
Sounds like the Hawks are finally going to force the Avery Bradley on Joe Johnson issue.— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) May 8, 2012
Not discounting the injuries to Jeff Green, Jermaine O'Neal, and Chris Wilcox, but tonight's game will feature our best five vs. their best five, Boston Voltron against Atlanta Voltron. As Flannery points out, this move will move Pierce to Marvin Williams and force Avery (and Rondo) onto the bigger Joe Johnson. JJ's stayed primarily on the perimeter with Pierce on him but with the smaller guards, he can work the post. JJ was one of the last "superstars" to get one of those $20-mill-a-year max contracts and he's going to want his touches after laying an egg in Game 4 and Johnson forcing a few shots may play into the Celtics' hands.
"I just wanted to give us a different look and see it if will kinda jump start us a bit," said Drew. "It gives us an opportunity to move Joe back to some 2, it makes us bigger, so we can do a few more things defensively in making some adjustments in Game 5. And I just think it's time -- you play four games in the playoffs and, obviously it's a game of adjustments and you try to do things that will benefit the team. I think, at this time, down 3-1, it's time to give it a different look see it if will jump start us with Al and Marvin in the starting lineup... get us going."
I'm not too concerned with Iso Joe on the block because if it becomes a problem, Doc can easily go back to Pierce or Pietrus. To me, the bigger issue is Al Horford, pun intended. As effective as these smaller lineups have been against the Celtics, it's the bigger front line of Horford and Smith that scares me. Smith looked gimpy in Game 4 and Horford was shaking off rust, but with that Atlanta crowd behind them in a do-or-die situation, they could wreak havoc on the glass. Joe Johnson is going to be chucking up shots and there are going to be a lot of either second chance opportunities for the Hawks or transition run outs for Rondo on the break. KG's come up BIG averaging double digits in boards, but look for a lot of long rebounds in this game. Rondo, Avery, and PP will have to gang rebound, too.
There's been a lot of talk of the Hawks already giving up after falling 37 points behind on Sunday, but let's not forget how ugly the rest of the series has been, especially in Philips Arena. Like the Celtics, Atlanta is another low margin of error team. They were a very good defensive team in the regular season and it's what they relied on when their offense stagnated. Sound familiar?