The Boston Celtics will face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs. With that in mind, and home court advantage still in doubt in this series, we'll be keeping a closer look on the Hawks to see what they're up to.
With the Hawks up four against the Clippers last night and the clock winding to under 45 seconds, Joe Johnson found himself at the hash-mark with the ball. It had just been batted out after a Jeff Teague lay up attempt that missed the rim entirely. The Clippers needed a stop to have a chance at closing that gap and winning the game.
As the shot clock trickled down… 3… 2… 1…. this happened.
Suddenly, it's a seven point Hawks lead, and the game was essentially over. Joe Johnson knew he got lucky on that one too.
''The craziest I ever hit in a game'' was how Johnson described it.
''I had no clue how much time was left or what even happened. 'I just heaved it up there. I wanted to at least hit the rim. I accidentally made it.''
The win put the Hawks in a position to clinch home court on Thursday night when the Dallas Mavericks visit Atlanta. The Mavs still have their own seeding to worry about. As the 7th seed, they may want to try to climb to 6 to avoid Oklahoma City, so it's possible the Mavs will actually be trying in this game. Then again, they may just be resigned to that fate and look for some rest.
And Doc is going to make Atlanta earn it if they want home court.
"We're gonna play our guys Thursday. Would be nice to put some more pressure on Atlanta."
As for the Hawks injuries (as reported before last night's game with the Clippers):
Zaza Pachulia is definitely out with a sprained left foot. It will be the sixth straight game he has missed with the injury. Coach Larry Drew continues to term Pachulia as “day-to-day” and would not say if the center will play in the regular-season finale against the Mavs on Thursday.
… Drew would not say whether Al Horford who play against the Mavs in an attempt to play in the postseason. “We don’t know,” Drew said. “It’s still a day-to-day evaluation. He’ll make a decision to see how he’s feeling.”
Horford has a chance to make an impact on the series, but he's been out so long it's hard to imagine he'd be ready in time to do a lot. But he's a really good player, so you have to be prepared. Losing Pachulia, or having him limited by a foot injury, will really hurt Atlanta. He's not winning many foot races as it is, but to have to deal with Garnett or Bass on a bum foot would be a killer for the Hawks. We'll be watching them closely.