After dominating Games 1 and 2 of their first round NBA Playoff series, the Boston Celtics and anyone who watched the massacres began to write off the Atlanta Hawks. The only problem with that is it looks like the Hawks never got the memo after beating Boston convincingly in Game 3 and pulling out another gutsy 97-92 win in Game 4 to even the series at 2-2 to bring the match up back to Boston for a crucial Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Both teams have defended their home court so that advantage goes to the Celtics, but it’s the Hawks who are flying high with confidence after pulling off the two upsets over the team with the NBA’s best regular season record.
“We took care of our home court,” said Joe Johnson who led the way by scoring 35 points in the winning effort last night. “Now we’ve got to go up to Boston and somehow steal one.”
Boston struggled down in Atlanta to find the team that showed up and one 68 games during the regular season. They looked very confused at times with offensive sets, and transitioned very poorly allowing the Hawks to score too many fast break points. Some of the veterans were settling for mediocre shots with plenty of time remaining on the shot clock. The team out on the floor in Games 3 and 4 just didn’t look like the Celtics team that had dominated the Hawks in the previous two games.
“We’ve got to find ourselves real quick,” Boston’s back up PG Sam Cassell said. “We’ve got to find our team identity, our team chemistry, we’ve got to find all that real quick.”
Not only do the Celtics need to ‘find themselves’ but they need to start shooting the ball with a little more confidence from the floor. In the first two games on the series the Big Three were knocking down shots, almost as if knowing they were going to make them. In Atlanta, the entire team looked a little more hesitant at pulling the trigger and the Hawks capitalized by firing away both nights.
“Give the Hawks credit,” Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. “This series hasn’t started yet, because no one has won a road game. It’s a tough loss for us, but we get a chance to take it back to Boston and see what we can do.”
For everyone who thought this series would be done in 4 games, it’s just getting started.