Atlanta 102 Boston 101
So many things went wrong for the Cs, it’s a miracle the game ended as close as it did. They repeated recent mistakes that are simply inexcusable, namely, playing soft in the first half. Atlanta won the first quarter 30-19, and the second quarter 21-15.
But then Boston came surging back, chipping a 19-Point deficit down to a tie. They took the lead right after on an Isaiah drive-and-kick to Jae for a corner three. 83-80.
But just as quick, A.B. fell to the floor grabbing his left hamstring in anguish. He tried to walk off the court under his own power but succumbed to the pain. From that point on, the writing was on the wall for the Cs.
Both teams traded barbs all the way down to the end, but Boston was fighting against the momentum. First, it was Avery. Then, Kelly’s absence started to stand out like a sore thumb. Or– in his case– shoulder. The bigs couldn’t stretch on offense, and Amir got exposed trying to guard Al Horford on the wing. Paul Millsap had his way with everyone who tried to guard him. Even Jeff Teague was beating the bigs to the hoop and finishing easy layups.
Save for their big run, the Cs didn’t do much of anything to help their cause. It starts with not allowing the opposition to have carte blanche in the first half. The Miami run was great, and if A.B. doesn’t get injured, maybe they run away with the win on Saturday. But at the end of the day, they need to play with greater urgency for the full 48 Minutes.
With Avery out, Marcus gets the start. Kelly’s shoulder is still bothering him, so even if he plays, E.T. has to play like the Sixth Man of the Year candidate that he is. And then someone, whether it’s Terry, R.J. or anyone else, needs to chip in. A.B.’s absence greatly deters our defense, and we can’t count on Marcus to do it all without fouling too much.
Every playoff game is a must-win, though Tuesday carries a particular gravity. Let’s get it.
Homer Johnsen is a freelance writer and Hydration Specialist for the Boston Celtics. He provides players with his own formula that guarantees lessened anxiety. His Celtics analyses and other dehydration remedies are available right here at HeresTheDealLikeShaquille.