Postgame Thoughts: Another One Down to the Wire vs. Celtics

Saturday, March 9, 2013
By Jessica Taylor

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics

A few thoughts after tonight’s 107-102 OT loss to the Celtics:

– There is something about these Hawks-Celtics games. Don’t know if it’s just the rivalry, the fact that both teams have rallied back from double-digit, 2nd-half deficits to each pick up a win in this seasons’ series or what… but I like it. I would have liked it more if this one fell in favor of the Hawks, but there is still one match-up left in the regular season-series…

– This time, the Hawks rallied back from a 12-point, 2nd-half deficit to force the game into OT. The Hawks never backed down, but Boston’s hot shooting and Atlanta’s 2nd-half turnovers resulted in a loss for the Hawks.

– After seeing increased playing time over the course of the Hawks’ recent 6-game road trip, Johan Petro made his first start tonight and got things rolling for Atlanta when he went head-to-head with K.G. to win the tip and give the Hawks the first possession of the game.

– LD used his 20th different starting lineup of the 2012-13 season which ties for highest amount of starting lineups in the NBA. Tonight’s starters were Smith, Horford, Petro, Harris and Teague all of whom accounted for 94 of the Hawks 102 total points.

– Neither Zaza Pachulia (sore Achilles) nor Ivan Johnson (personal issues) made the trip to Boston with the rest of the team. This was unfortunate news considering who we were playing; a physical, hard-nosed Celtics team. The Hawks held their own against Boston and showed that even without two of their most physical players, they are still a force to be reckoned with.

– Despite the absence of a few of Atlanta’s big men, the Hawks outscored the Celtics in the paint, 48-32. Nice to see the guys were going to basket and playing aggressively.

– Both teams found their offensive rhythm early-on resulting in a high scoring first quarter where the Celtics had a slight edge on the Hawks 28-26 heading into the 2nd. Boston shot 57% after the 1st while Atlanta shot 46%.

– The Hawks clawed their way back from a 10-point 1st-half deficit to trail the Celtics, 52-47, at the break – Would have been 49-47 if it weren’t for Jason Terry’s 3-pointer made with 4.2 seconds left in the half.

– The Hawks trailed by as little as 2 points in the early minutes of the 4th quarter before the Celtics went on a 10-0 run to gain a 12-point lead, the biggest lead of the game (82-70, Boston). The Hawks kept at it, like they always do, and tied it up at 94 with less than two minutes to play, sending the game into overtime.

– Overtime was tough to watch. Boston knocked down a few key triples and Atlanta turned the ball over one too many times.

J-Smoove was on fire tonight scoring a game-high 32 points. He also handed out 9 assists and pulled down 8 rebounds.

Horford continues to play a phenomenal game tallying 22 points, 13 boards and dishing out 5 assists. He was the only player on both teams to finish the night with a double-double.

Kyle Korver! The sharpshooter gave us all a scare tonight when he didn’t get a decent look from downtown until halfway through the 3rd quarter. It was clear that Boston made it a priority to lock him up after his spurt of 3-pointers in the two teams’ last meeting played an integral role in Hawks’ comeback from a 27-point deficit. He was 0-3 from behind the arc until 1:15 remained in the game. Korver’s 3-pointer was clutch to say the least; not only did it extend his current streak of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer to 54, but it tied the game at 94 with 1 minute left in regulation time.

– The turnover struggle doomed both teams in different halves. Boston turned the ball over 9 times in the 1st half and the Hawks turned it over 6 times in the 3rd quarter alone, 10 times by end of the 2nd half. By the end of the game, the number of miscues evened out – Hawks with 15, Boston with 16.

– LD opted not to play DeShawn Stevenson in order to have him on the court for the Hawks next game vs. Brooklyn.

The Hawks come back home to take on the Nets Saturday night at Philips Arena for the second game of this back-to-back.

What did you guys think?