Truth revealed at Highlight Factory
Truth is that Paul Pierce is an all-time great player and he gave the world a 2012 reminder of that tonight as the Celtics went to Atlanta and tied the series without Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo.
Pierce went for 36 big points and 14 rebounds and now the series heads to Boston. The Hawks were exposed for a team who will take their foot off the gas with a lead. Exposed might not be the right word, it’s more like the Hawks just confirmed that all the concerns that have always been there still are. They played good for the most part, but the fourth quarter of games defines success. The Hawks were out-scored 26-to-14 in the final period and let the Celtics steal one in Atlanta.
Only a truly great player could lead this team to that win with the group of guys that Doc Rivers was forced to put out on the floor. Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus were the starting backcourt. The Celtics were 0-for-19 in 3-point baskets in the playoffs before Keyon Dooling came up with a pair. This win virtually guarantees Boston will advance into the second round of the playoffs.
It’s going to be hard to go into Boston and get a win at TD Garden. Celtics are a war-tested team and it’s going to take a full 48 minute effort from the Hawks to get a win. You can’t be good for three quarters and this is the same problem that the Hawks have had in past years which is why nobody gives them a chance to win. The mental make-up of this team reveals itself in the playoffs year after year just like Boston. One is always good and one is always bad.
Boston should send the Hawks on vacation in five or six. Rondo should be on his best behavior and still will be playing with a chip on his shoulder after feeling like he let his teammates down with the suspension. The Celtics best chance at success is with the ball in Pierce’s hands in big moments and especially the fourth quarter. He proved once again that you can ride him to wins in any situation.
Josh Smith went out late with a knee injury that is said to be a sprain. Smith has been a force on the glass and if he’s not completely healthy, it means even less of a chance for Atlanta to turn this series around. Jeff Teague has played good basketball, Joe Johnson played good, but I don’t think Atlanta turns this series around.