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There was never a silent moment in the Garden Sunday night, as the Boston Celtics got ready for their first playoff game since 2005. However, this team was a much different one than three years ago. The Celtics entered this game and pummeled the Atlanta Hawks to a 104-81 win to take game one of this best of seven playoff series. The Hawks only lead the game once, after they scored the first bucket to make it 2-0. From that point on it was all-Celtics.
The Celtics had a great team effort tonight and won this game as a whole unit by getting big contributions from their starters and following it up with the bench also playing well. Rajon Rondo had a great night as he put in 15 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals. He was not the only guy playing hard tonight though. Kevin Garnett added 16 points and 10 rebounds, Paul Pierce had 16 points, and Ray Allen lead the Celtics with 18 points. Off the bench the Celtics got nice contributions from Leon Powe, who had 10 points, and Sam “I Am” Cassell who had also had 10 points.
The Hawks on the other hand, just had trouble catching up and handling the Celtics all night. They were able to come within two points of the Celtics in the second quarter, but Kevin Garnett came back in to put on a 6-0 run to end that little comeback. Rookie Al Horford had a big night with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Joe Johnson, the former Celtic, added 19 points. The problem for Atlanta was the fact that their bench could not really get anything started. Josh Childress was the only guy doing much off the bench as he scored 10 buckets for the Hawks. They just could not match the Celtics power or their height either.
This game is hopefully a good indication of the rest of how the series will go. The Hawks will probably make some adjustments after tonight’s game, but Boston should be able to stay on top throughout the series. The intensity of the Celtics is just so hard to match right now. It was seen after a Leon Powe dunk in the second half with a foul that lead to Kevin Garnett beating him down and shouting at him, but in a good way.