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Joe Johnson….for three!…..and for Game 7.
Yep, unbelievable. The Hawks hung in with the Celtics all game long. They were down by double digits, then battled back to four or five point deficits. The Celts entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, but the Hawks chipped away until they took the lead and held it for good in a 103-100 win.
The C’s had a chance late: down by two points with about 20 seconds left. They ran a predictable play that saw a couple players dish the ball then throw it up to Ray Allen for the three-point attempt. Klang. Terrible play to draw up in that situation. They really could’ve used Paul Pierce in that instance, who fouled out earlier in the quarter.
The Celtics really scared me with how poorly they played in the fourth quarter. On the road, they slipped into a lull of outside shots and perimeter passing. That equates to no pressure inside, which is how you finish games against aggressive teams in the playoffs. Losing Paul Pierce for a portion of the fourth was devastating for the Celts, as they lost their one true slasher toward the hoop. Without that, they settled for outside shots all the time. Kevin Garnett just can’t do it all by himself.
KG looked like a rookie in the fourth quarter. He made a few awful passes to go along with questionable shot selection. Garnett looked like he was nervous and/or scared to win the series on the road in front of a hostile crowd. Pierce seemed like the only one that wanted to win…so much so that when he fouled out, he wouldn’t stop arguing and received a technical foul (and the technical was very childish…especially for a “captain”). To quote Celts announcer Mike Gorman at that moment: “The wheels are coming off the bus now.”
See you all in Game 7. Here are a few thoughts: