Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Breathe

Yeah... that's more like it. The Celtics summarily stomped the shit out of the Atlanta Hawks tonight, 110-85. The series is now at 3-2 in favor of the Green and headed back to the ATL, where the C's will try to close it out Friday night. This was an immensely satisfying victory, though still felt like it could have been more so: these Hawks are pesky, make no mistake, and clearly, clearly not to be taken lightly. Even though the Celtics outscored them in every quarter, the Hawks were still within single digits well into the third quarter, and really only fell irretrievably behind when they allowed themselves to lose focus in that comfortably familiar Hawkish way. But hey man, a win is a win, and it's a bit presumptuous to gripe when you've just bounced back from a two-game skid to slam your opponent by 25 points.

The Celtics had six players in double figures, led by the truly menacing Paul Pierce, who lit up Marvin Williams to the tune of 22 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. A fantastic performance, and one that should quiet some of the whispers that his Game 2 injury is worse than previously thought. Leon had a Leon kind of night, and James Posey continued to remind us why there is absolutely nothing to dislike about his game. The C's generally dominated the Hawks in every meaningful statistical category with the continually troubling exception of free throw attempts, where they shot 29 to our 15 (and made an impressive 25, I might add). Tommy was displeased. I refrain from comment, except to offer a rather flamboyantly furrowed brow. In the end, fuck it, we'll take it, a 25-point win and hopefully reclaiming what's rightfully ours, i.e. the Atlanta Hawks' sacrificial head on a platter. Let's do this again on Friday, shall we?

6 comments:

wharper said...

The Cs really needed Leon to show some hard-nosed grit down low tonight, as I do find it distressing that the one Celt who has the ability to be their fiercest low post presence (KG) is instead far more comfortable in the midrange game.

This was most apparent when the Hawks went on their 9-0 (possibly more?) run in the second half, which began when they stole an inbounds pass leading to a quick three. The Cs really just needed a definite (re: low post) score after a string of misses, and instead they just kept bricking the jump shots. That stretch started to smell a little too much like the 4th quarter of game 4 to me, and I was glad when they finally did score.

Also, I was pleased to see Joe Johnson get called on some of his practice of barreling into people on the perimeter - I'd like to have seen Bibby get called for some of his excessive warding as well.

While Horford is tracking to become a serious pro baller, it seemed like he would've benefitted from a little more humility tonight. Horford should've been rookie of the year this year, but he's not at the point yet where he should feel comfortable posturing and posing in a playoff road game - seeing him 'admiring his guns' after a first half score highlighted to me how young this kid is. The Hawks needed confidence tonight to have any chance at all, and instead Horford was the only one who seemed to show up with anything at all - only it was cockiness instead of confidence.

Game 6 should hopefully be a real 'Statement Game' for the Cs - an opportunity to squelch some of the league-wide eyebrow raising that stemmed from games 3 & 4.

Anonymous said...

I had to watch the game on TNT instead, so no Tommy for me, but (as the TnT guys noted) the Cs take a lot more jump shots than the Hawks, so they are likely to own a free throw advantage. The defense will contest every shot as well. Pierce seems to be the only starter who gets to the line consistently. After looking up the stats, Powe gets to the line more than anyone else on the team per minute played - he averaged 14 minutes and 3.4 ft/game to Pierce's 35.9 minutes/game and 6.1 ft/game.
So, top free throws per minutes:
Powe : .24 ft/m
Pierce: .16 ft/m
Big B : .16 ft/m
Garnett: .14 ft/m

Eddie House very rarely gets to the line. In a full 48 minutes he averages 1.2 fts, or .026 fts/m.

The C's shot .2 more ft/game than opponents during the regular season, but the hawks shot 3.5 more than opponents, so on average the hawks will get to the line more. It makes sense though, they have more slashers and we have more jump shooters.

Anonymous said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-080501

Jeff said...

I was going to comment in the vein of anonymous #1 -- Celts jumpshooting as cause of foulshot differential. Now I just thought I'd add that Leon gets to the line because when he sets the pick high, he rolls down the lane, whereas KG fades for a J (and rightly so, KG would get doubled or tripled if he did what Leon does; Leon benefits from single coverage until he actually catches and starts to shoot.
They could work Perk a little more in the low post, and might have if foul trouble hadn't kept him out for so long.

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