The Celtics were without starting PG Rajon Rondo Tuesday night and still were able to even their series against the Hawks 1-1. Led by Paul Pierce’s 36 points, Boston battled without Rondo and Ray Allen all night with a semi-determined Atlanta Hawks team. Avery Bradley filled in admirably for Rondo with a solid and controlled 14 points.
Snap Fast Reaction
While all the buzz was on Rondo being suspended for game 2, Avery Bradley had a solid evening. Bradley is nowhere near the floor general as Rajon yet he still managed the game well, only turning the ball over one time. What was lost in all the suspension nonsense was Boston was also without Ray Allen. So to come out of Atlanta with an even series is rather impressive. Outside of Pierce’s monster game where he also added 14 boards to go with his 36 points the Celtics had a sub-par game overall. Atlanta seemed to control most of the game until Pierce took over in the 4th period.
Celtics Star of The Game
Paul Pierce was “The Truth” Tuesday night. From opening the game like a man on fire, you can tell he was going to put the team on his back. Then when crunch time hit, Pierce repeatedly put a dagger right through Atlanta’s heart. Pierce showed flashes of yesteryear, scoring the last 9 points for the Celtics in the 4th and making this series brand new all over again. Essentially getting Rajon Rondo out of the scapegoat category for Boston fans.
Hawks Star of The Game
Jeff Teague is a widely unknown player who scored 18 points. His progression as of late has to be a silver lining in an otherwise grey cloud to the Hawks. When Teague is aggressive this team shines. Super athletic and just beginning to develop his outside game, Teague is going to win you over. If you were able to watch this game in its entirety you would understand his impact on the game was more than just 18-5-5. With that being said his teammates have to let him run the show. Josh Smith needs to stop being a ball stopper and let Teague control the offense.
Josh Smith Never Learns
Josh Smith may be the most athletic PF in the league. He also has a habit of chucking up a ton of 3 pointers. So just one game after I praised him from refraining to attempt to many 3’s, he does this? I assume he did that to remind us that he’s just that athletic!
What The Game Means
It is now a 5 game series. Boston coming out of Atlanta with the series even is a huge edge. The Hawks were an already questionably soft team to begin with. To see how they handle the frustration of losing to a Boston team missing 2 of their better players will be interesting. The Hawks’ inability to close games is astonishing. Without capitalizing Tuesday night many in Atlanta will feel doomed. On the other side of the coin Boston fans are chomping at the bits to get Rondo back and rip the wings off the Hawks.(Horrible play on words intended)
When game 3 rolls around Boston not only will get Rondo back but a more confident bench. Avery Bradley is making Danny Ainge look like a super genius and just continues to shine. His ability on defense was never questionable. However, it is his improvement on the offensive side that is going to get him national coverage. Look for a more hungry Boston team for the rest of the series, led by Pierce and Rondo trying to put Atlanta away as quickly as possible.
The Hawks need game 3 badly. Not being able to pounce on a depleted Celtics squad is a bad sign. If Rondo and Bradley were not such defensive stoppers one would think Atlanta would feature Teague more. With that option eliminated by Boston’s back court defense, they need to come up with some offense other than isolation basketball for Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. When they push the ball in transition they seem to be successful, so look for them to try and run the Celtics into the ground Friday night.
The 3rd game of this series will be on ESPN at 730pm est Friday. Boston will be returning home looking to take the lead in this series.
Joe Nardone is a Writer/Blogger for Sir Charles In Charge. You can follow him on the twitter machine @DrealJoeMan