The medical question I should have been asking was, do the Atlanta Hawks have a heart? The answer, thoroughly demonstrated last night, is no.
The Celtics hit their shots in the 1st, pulled away, and it was all over after 12 minutes. The Hawks tried to come back by forcing shots, failing to realize the basic fundamental principle that basketball comebacks are made with defensive stops, not quick offensive scoring. The Celtics pulled even further away.
By halftime it was 64-41. The Hawks would have to outscore the Celtics by more points in a half than they'd manage to score on their own in a quarter. Everyone in the Garden knew that wouldn't happen, especially the Hawks themselves.
Here are some of the more obscene stats from Sunday's win: Pierce had 24 points, despite only playing 17 minutes. He scored 10 points in the 1st, and was a big reason why the Celtics pulled out to such a big lead. He was +33 in those 17 minutes.
No man has burned Atlanta as ruthlessly as Pierce since General William Tecumseh Sherman in November 1864.
Rondo had a double-double, 20 points, 16 assists. Just another day at the office for him.
Bradley was able to play, and he scored 6 points in 19 minutes.
The Celtics were able to give their starters some rest and give minutes to their bench. KG only played 27 minutes. Ray Allen was in for 19.
The Hawks are dead. I wouldn't be utterly surprised if they pulled a win out of their ass down in Atlanta. But this series is over. I'm not lighting the cigar yet, but I'm taking it out of the humidor, and reaching for my lighter.
Game 5 Tuesday night in Atlanta.