Hawks 79, Celtics 101
Game 4 is often referred to as the “swing game” in the NBA Playoffs. It’s a game where one team can take a firm grasp of the series, while the other has the opportunity to avoid being put on the rocks.
The Boston Celtics were the team that took full advantage of their opportunity tonight to take control of their series against the Atlanta Hawks. As a result, Atlanta’s collective back is now pushed to the wall.
Boston controlled this game from the opening tip. It dictated the pace of the game, scored at will and shut down the Hawks’ offense. Atlanta had no answers.
“We were beaten in every phase of the game," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "It started the first six minutes of the game. We did not respond very well to the pressure, to the aggressiveness that they were playing with.”
Boston left the Hawks in the dust and incrementally grew its lead throughout the first quarter. The Celtics led by 13 points after the first 12 minutes had ticked off of the clock. The lead never dropped below double-digits from that point on and Boston built a 37-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
If tonight’s contest happened to be the swing game of this series, consider it swung in Boston’s direction.
Key Box Score Line
That one-game suspension flipped Rajon Rondo’s power strip to “on.” The guy has been utterly unstoppable during his two games since serving the league-mandated suspension.
Rondo returned to the lineup Friday night and put together his 20th career triple-double. He didn’t bump that number up to 21 in Game 4, but he sure did deliver a gem.
The All-Star point guard finished Game 4 with 20 points – five more than any Hawks player scored – and a game-high 16 assists. He also chipped in three rebounds and three steals. And how about the fact that Rondo did all of this while committing just a single turnover in the game? That’s pretty impressive stuff.
Jeff Teague has been garnering some well-deserved attention during this series, but Rondo continues to prove why he deserves that attention all the time.
Box Score Nuggets
- Atlanta shot just 40.8 percent from the field in the game.
- Rajon Rondo's game-high 16 assists were just two fewer than the entire Hawks team dished out.
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points in less than 17 minutes of action.
- Two Celtics (Pierce and Rondo) scored at least 20 points, while Atlanta's top scorer, Josh Smith, recorded just 15.
- The Celtics finished with six blocks, while the Hawks did not record any. Pierce finished with a game-high two blocks.
- No one on Boston's roster grabbed more than five rebounds, but three players (Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Ray Allen) grabbed five apiece.
- The Celtics scored 32 points in both the first and second quarters.
- Pierce shot a whopping 10-for-13 from the field and Rondo shot 8-for-11.
- Boston scored 18 points off of Atlanta's 18 turnovers.
- Al Horford returned to the lineup for Atlanta for the first time since Jan. 11 and finished with 12 points and five rebounds off of the bench.
- Ray Allen contributed 12 points and five rebounds of his own off of the bench for Boston.
- Six of Boston's players grabbed at least four rebounds, including three reserves.
- The Celtics led by as many as 37 points.
- Boston scored 21 fast-break points.
- Rondo grabbed a game-high three steals, tying the output of Atlanta's entire team. The Celtics grabbed 10 steals overall.
Quote of the Night
Rajon Rondo regarding Game 5 in Atlanta: "We’re gonna go down there and try to take care of business."