Three things we learned in the Celtics 87-80 win over the Hawks in Atlanta Tuesday night:
4th quarter heroics
It was old reliable for the Celtics - Paul Pierce. Since he was drafted by the Celtics in 1998, he's seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, but the one constant is that he's always been the go-to-guy.
That was the case Tuesday night, when he seemed to hit countless shots when the Celtics needed it most. Guys followed suit in Kevin Garnett, Avery Bradley, and Marquis Daniels. Pierce finished the game with 36 points, and the Celtics erased an 11-point deficit to earn the win.
A new beginning
It wasn't as one-sided a first quarter in Game 2 as it was in Game 1. The Celtics - led by Pierce - came out the way they needed to, and played evenly with the Hawks.
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After 12 minutes, it was 24-24, and it was clear at that point that the C's were going to compete from start to finish. Pierce passed his Game 1 point total in the first quarter alone, scoring the team's first nine points and finishing the quarter with 13. Kevin Garnett also looked to have some legs under him, unlike last game.
Who stepped up?
Without Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, certain players had to elevate their games. It looked like that wasn't going to be the case at first though.
Avery Bradley looked to have some playoff nerves to begin the game, but he shook them off as the game went on and finished with 14 points. Keyon Dooling hit the team's first three-pointer of the series, and Marquis Daniels did some nice things off the bench. Mickael Pietrus killed the C's, however.
He picked up three quick fouls in the first quarter, and was pretty much a non-factor from that point on.