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The Hawks scored the first basket of the game, but it seemed like that would just about be the only time they lead the entire way. The Celtics dominated the Hawks today by winning 99-65, giving them the series win and the chance to play Lebron James and the Cavs in round two. The Hawks seemed flustered and nervous the entire time they were on the court. Boston took advantage of this hesitancy and nailed shot after shot to keep their commanding lead throughout the entire game.
Paul Pierce lead the way in this one, most likely as a statement about after fouling out in game six. Pierce had 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both had double doubles with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Garnett and 10 points and 10 rebounds for Perkins. Rondo added 10 and Leon Powe put in 12 points off the bench. Ray Allen struggled a bit in this one, but still managed add 7 points.
The Hawks, who never really got into any sort of rhythm, had 16 points from Joe Johnson, 8 points and 12 rebounds from Al Horford, and 10 points off the bench from Salim Stoudamire. The Hawks may have managed to equal the Celtics rebounds, but the Celtics just seemed unstoppable in the paint, both on offense and defense. The Hawks also had problems with turning the ball over, handing the ball over to the Celtics 16 times.
It was great to see the Celtics come into this game all fired up after losing a game six that they could have easily held on to win. Like the other games this series, today had its physical moments. Early on in the third quarter, Marvin Williams was ejected from the game after being issued a flagrant 2 foul on Rajon Rondo. Rondo broke away for a layup with only Williams covering. Williams put his arms around Rondo’s chest and brought him down hard to the ground. In retaliation, Rondo made both free throws and Ray Allen hit a three after they retained the possession.
The game was decided early, but the Celtics did not let up on both ends of the court at any time. The starters sat most of the fourth quarter which may help a little against a slightly more rested Cleveland team. If the Celtics can bring the intensity that they had at home in this series as well as some better road playing, then they should beat Cleveland in about six or seven games. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Boston at eight.
Tags: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Joe Johnson, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Leon Powe, Marvin Williams, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Salim Stoudamire