Friday, April 20, 2012
No Reason To Fear The Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta was the first stop on the 2011-12 tour and the Hawks (38-25, 21-9 home) almost suffered an embarrassing loss but they held on 97-92 over the Celtics (37-27, 15-18 away) earlier tonight at Philips Arena.
Since this was likely a first round playoff preview, the Celtics' bench proved its worth against mostly starters for the Hawks. That should do something for both squads' confidence especially because Boston will have the home court advantage. Still, it's one game so let's not go overboard. Atlanta will be a challenge if they meet but I think that Boston should get by them.
Former Celtic Joe Johnson (30 points, 6 assists) and Josh Smith (19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks) were the only Hawks in double figures.
Avery Bradley led the Green with 28 points, Keyon Dooling (3 of 4 on 3-pointers) had 17 points, Marquis Daniels had 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Brandon Bass scored 10. Ryan Hollins played his most minutes (30) in a Celtics uniform and he responded with eight points and five rebounds as a substitute.
This was the final road game of the regular season, Boston will face Miami (Tuesday) and Milwaukee (Thursday) next week at the Garden. Feel free to sleep until next Saturday when the playoffs begin and don't be fooled into taking tickets to either of those games since you know everyone will be giving them away. I doubt anything remotely interesting with the Celtics will occur between now and then.
Expect to see plenty of JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Sasha Pavlovic, Dooling, Daniels and Hollins against the Heat and Bucks. I wouldn't hesitate to rest the Big 4 as much as possible since they are really going to be counted on starting next weekend.