Thursday, May 01, 2008
The Celtics are capable of such a high level of basketball, that despite the best effort of the officials to give lowly Atlanta a boost, the Celtics still rolled over them.
Pierce led the way with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Garnett had 20 points, 5 boards, and 7 assists. Ray Allen started slow, but his 5 for 8 from 3 point land helped him finish wit 19 points. Rondo had another impressive night, with 12 points and 7 assists. Rajon now has 40 assists in this series, with only 4 turnovers.
The real story, however, was the quality of play from the Celtics bench. Leon Powe had a great night with 10 points and 7 rebounds (5 offensive rebounds), but the numbers don't tell the story. All of those rebounds were hard ones underneath the post. He also drew a pair of huge charging calls early in the game that set the tone for the Celtics' defense all night.
The Celtic bench combined for 35 points, whereas Atlanta's only amassed 14.
The only thing that kept the Hawks in the game was free throws. Atlanta got to the line 29 times (the Celtics only 15 times). The refs called a very tight game when the C's were on defense, and a very loose one when the Hawks were defending. Free throws accounted for 29.4% of Atlanta's point production.
But the Celtics (when they're on their game) are simply too good to fall to a team like Atlanta, even with the help of the refs. The Celtics outrebounded, outhustled, outshot, and completely outplayed the Hawks.
Game 6 is Friday night in Atlanta.
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AP Photo/Charles Krupa
The starting pitching on this team has really started to click. Daisuke came back from the flu with a vengeance, going 7 innings, allowing just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 0 runs. Unfortunately for him, sparse offense and the struggling middle relief cost him the win.
Delcarmen pitched to one batter in the 8th, allowing a single. Then Okajima came in, allowed a double, and a sacrifice fly. That's Okajima's third blown save (even though the run got charged to Delcarmen) of the season. He had 2 blown saves in all of 2007. And if it weren't for a sensational diving catch by Brandy Moss (what he'll be called from now on), things could have been much worse.
But the Sox bats came up big in the 9th again. Ortiz singled, Manny walked, Lowrie pinch ran for Ortiz on second, Brandy Moss singled up the middle, but this time Vernon Wells came up with a great throw, and Greg Zaun blocked the plate Patrick Roy style to tag out Lowrie. But Varitek followed that play with another single up the middle, this time scoring the suddenly speedy Manny Ramirez.
Ortiz had one of those "maybe he's coming out of it" games, going 2 for 4 with a solo homer, and the single in the 9th. But we've seen this from him several times this year, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
The Sox go for the sweep Thursday night as Tim Wakefield takes the mound against AJ Burnett.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson