The Celtics were just cruising along against their likely 1st round playoff opponent. The Hawks had no answer for Kevin Garnett and they were up by 11 at halftime before the Atlanta Hawks stormed back against the Green’s starting five and tied the game by outscoring the Celtics 30-19.
The shorthanded Celtics (Leon Powe and Eddie House are both injured) responded by pulling the starters and inserting Glen “Big Baby” Davis, P.J. Brown, James Posey, Tony Allen and Sam Cassell for the remainder of the contest to see how they’d respond. Would Sam step up and turn into an ATLien? The answer is yes.
The end result was a ten point Celtis win as they outscored the Hawks 25-15 (15 points scored by Sam Cassell in the 4th quarter) and won their 64th game of the season (+40 from last season). The Celtics defense was unforgiving in the 4th quarter and the Atlanta swingmen had trouble getting up a shot in the paint against Glen Davis and P.J. Brown while Tony Allen and James Posey held down the perimeter.
The Celtics held the Hawks to 2-15 shooting at the end of the contest when it really counted and Sam Cassell completely took over the game (20 points, 5 assists and 3-5 from 3 point range). The Hawks will have to wait to officially clinch their playoff spot.
Kevin Garnett was completely dominating (24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists on 9-14 shooting) Al Horford and Josh Smith and it resulting in some jawing between the parties all night long. Eventually, KG and Al Horford would get hit with double technicals while Garnett was at the free throw line (where he was a perfect 6-6 on the night).
The Hawks were in low spirits at the end of the night but perhaps the Celtics/Hawks rivalry has been renewed? Only this time Doc is leading the Boston Celtics (64-16) instead of vice versa. Next game is versus the hapless New York Knicks, it's time to get 'em back for the Patriots...again.