The 2008 Celtics playoff extravaganza got underway tonight, as the C's dismantled the wildly overmatched Atlanta Hawks, 104-81. The Hawks surprisingly kept this one fairly close for a while (they were only down nine at halftime), but sooner or later it became clear that there was simply no escape. The most striking thing about this one was that the Hawks seemed to play pretty well (for the Hawks, at least) and still lost by 23. This wasn't even vintage Celtics, either; the offense sometimes appeared unfocused and KG spent a good portion of the first half in foul trouble. No one thinks the Hawks can make this a series and there was certainly no evidence from tonight that the conventional wisdom is mistaken. The looks on the Hawks' players faces in the fourth quarter were almost excruciating to behold: they looked like they were completely aware that they have absolutely no chance to beat this team. I think it's safe to say that they're not exactly looking forward to Wednesday.
From the Celtics standpoint, they received solid contributions from the usual suspects and boasted six guys with double digit scoring numbers, although no one scored more than 18 (Ray Allen). KG had 16 and 10 boards, and honestly Rondo may have had the best game of anyone, pouring in 15 to go with 9 assists and 6 boards. Any remaining doubt as to whether or not Rondo's ready for the playoffs should be settled by this performance. Leon scored 10 and was the beneficiary of a stunning display of Garnett charisma/intensity/borderline psychopathology. Breathtaking stuff. Anyways, there's now two days off before the next meeting--God I hate the playoff plod--so get some rest, you lovable Hawks.