Three things we saw in Atlanta’s 83-74 victory over the C’s in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series:
When the ball was tipped, only one team played like it was Game 1 of the postseason – and it wasn’t the Celtics.
The Hawks came out firing on all cylinders – and the shots were falling.
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They started the game converting 8-of-11 shots from the field, opened up a double-digit lead within the first few minutes, and led at the end of the first quarter, 31-18. From that point on, the Celtics were playing catch-up.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were non-existent in the first quarter.
Who is it going to be for the Celtics?
In order for them to win, they’re going to need guys to step up that aren’t front and center in the Hawks’ scouting report.
Atlanta had those guys Sunday night, when Jason Collins started at center and actually outplayed the likes of Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass in the first three quarters.
You read that right. Kirk Hinrich is another player for the Hawks that really hurt the C’s.
The Hawks did everything in their power to let the Celtics back in the game, but the C’s never capitalized.
To make matters worse, Rajon Rondo was hit with a double-technical foul in the closing seconds for arguing a call and then bumping into referee Marc Davis.
He was ejected from the game, and with that, the Celtics’ chances at taking the lead were gone.
The NBA has strict rules against making any contact with officials and Rondo’s slight bump will likely warrant a one-game suspension.