Friday, May 11, 2012

Adios, Atlanta

The Celtics weren't blatantly more talented than the Hawks. This wasn't a case of a clearly superior team outclassing an inferior opponent. This was about being clutch, about putting yourself in position to make big plays and then executing. The Celtics were clutch in this series. The Hawks weren't. Just look at the last minute of Game 6 as Exhibit A.

The Celtics needed a big game out of Kevin Garnett and they got one. 28 points, 14 rebounds, he was a monster. And he made the shot that gave the Celtics the lead with 30 seconds left. Pierce, Rondo, and Garnett have each taken turns carrying this team. They take the pressure off each other, and they step up when the others need them.

The last time Rondo didn't have 10+ assists was March 9th. He only had 8 last night. But like I said, when one of the stars is off, the others step up. It's like having a car with three engines.

Bradley, Bass, and the bench didn't provide much offense, but the defense was able to hold Atlanta at bay. That's KG again. The Celtics missed their three-pointers, but they got to the line (and made their free throws). They didn't put the Hawks on the line. That was a big difference maker.

Because the NBA doesn't re-seed after each round, the Celtics face the 76ers in the Conference Semifinals. That means the Celtics have home-court advantage (3-0 against Atlanta at home, 24-9 at home in the regular season). It's a silly system, but I'll take it this year. That series starts tomorrow in Boston.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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