Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Complete Amazing Comeback Against Celtics

Saturday, January 26, 2013
By Micah Hart

A few thoughts coming up (once I catch my breath) after the Hawks’ unbelievable 123-111 double-overtime win over the Celtics at Philips Arena:

— Hang on, I still need a minute.

— Seriously, give me a second, I need some time to process what just happened.

— Ok, let’s start here. The Hawks did not play bad in this game, at least not in the first quarter. They just couldn’t make a shot. From anywhere. Inside, outside, it didn’t matter. They were 4-23 from the field (and 2-6 from the line), scoring a season-low 10 points.

— The second quarter started off poorly though, and with 6:01 to play before halftime, the Hawks trailed by 27 points, 48-21. And this is where you say you never give up in the NBA, because anything is possible. Atlanta started to chip away little by little, and by halftime they trailed by 19, 57-38. Hey, it’s not great, but it’s not 27* either.

* You know, it’s almost worth getting down by 27 to the Celtics to have the sheer joy that comes with rallying from 27 down to beat the Celtics. Call me crazy.

— I don’t know what was said or done at halftime, but it worked because the Hawks wasted very, very little time in erasing that deficit, as the team went on a 21-2 run to tie the game at 59-59 with 6:12 to play in the third. So, it took the Celtics roughly 18 minutes to run up a 27-point lead, and took the Hawks roughly 12 to erase it.

— As impressive as that run was, dig this: the Celtics took a 10-point lead on a Kevin Garnett dunk with 4:44 to play in the game at 94-84. And we came back AGAIN.

— Individually, hard to match what Kyle Korver did in the second half for Atlanta. KK hit a career-high 8 3-pointers — all after halftime — to score a season-high 27 points. 3 of those bombs came during the run to end regulation that saw the Hawks rebound from that final deficit to force overtime. He was amazing. Seriously, watch for yourself.

— People wanted to see how Al Horford and Josh Smith would respond to not making the Eastern Conference All-Star team. I’d say they let their work speak for themselves. Let’s start with Al. After missing Wednesday’s game against Charlotte, Al showed what he’s made of by playing 52 minutes, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. And, after a season of struggles at the foul stripe, Horford was 10-11 from the line.

— Josh had a tougher night, shooting only 7-20 from the field. But he came through when the team needed him. Smith blocked Paul Pierce‘s potential game-winner at the end of the first OT, then set the tone in the second when he skied over the Celtics defense to grab an offensive board and draw the and-1 to give the team a lead they’d not relinquish. When the dust settled, Smoove put up 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists.

— All told, Smoove and Al combined for 15 of the team’s 25 points in the extra periods. Take that All-Star!

— How’s this for an odd statistic, courtesy of Hawks PR man Jason Roose: 13 times this season an NBA team has been perfect from the foul stripe, including Boston’s 20-20 performance tonight. Of those 13, FIVE have come against Atlanta. As the wise man said, this team has got to work on its free throw defense.

There are 82 games in a season, and each win or loss counts for 1 the same as any other. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that Hawks players and fans will savor this one a little bit longer than most, especially given the teams’ collective history.

There are still two more meetings with the Celtics this season, both in Boston. And based on how the first two went, one thing is abundantly clear. Woe is the team who jumps out to a large first-half lead.

What’d you think Hawks fans?

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