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Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks took game one of their NBA playoff series with the Boston Celtics, 83-74.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 20 points, 11 assists and 4 steals, but got ejected with a minute to play and the Celtics down just 4.
After Smith and Brandon Bass went to floor for a loose ball, Bass was slapped with a questionable foul. Rondo, clearly upset by the call, slapped his hands at referee Marc Davis. As Davis turned to call a technical, Rondo appeared to bump him in the back and got tossed.
Immediate word from the NBA is that they would review the play to determine if further action is needed by the league. Rondo was suspended for 2 games in February after throwing a ball at NBA official, Sean Wright, in Detroit.
The Celtics trailed by 14 at the half and 12 at the start of the fourth quarter, but were able to stay close down the stretch despite failing to connect on a single one of their 11 three-point attempts. The Celtics shot just 39 percent from the field on the game.
Paul Pierce struggled from the field and shot just 5-for-19. Avery Bradley wasn’t much better as he connected on just four of his 12 attempts. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 12 rebounds but also shot less than 50 percent from the field. Boston’s bench mustered just four points with Ray Allen sidelined for the ninth straight game.
The series resumes Tuesday in Atlanta for a pivotal game 2. The Celtics can only hope they will go into Tuesday’s contest with their point guard, Rajon Rondo.