Everyone on the planet knew that Paul Pierce was going to assert himself in Game 2. Larry Drew, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Dominique Wilkins, Cliff Livingston and Antoine Carr all knew it. And none of them could do anything about it.
The Truth dominated this game: 36 points, 12-26 FG, 11-13 FT, 14 rebounds, 4 assists in 44 minutes. Pierce had 7 straight points during a pivotal stretch late in the 4th quarter that sealed the game. Words don't do it justice.
This was an ugly, grind-it-out game. The Celtics, Pierce included, had some horrific turnovers and defensive lapses. Fortunately, the Hawks did the same.
The Celtics caught a break when Josh Smith sprained his left knee with 4 minutes remaining. He left the game and did not return. UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowksi reports "Smith has sprained patella ligament in knee, source tells Y! 'He walked out of arena w/ no help, just gingerly,' source says." MRI on Wed.
Jeff Teague (18 points, 5 rebounds) was a major thorn for three quarters. His shot and chest-bumping intensity disappeared in the 4th.
Kevin Garnett had 15 points, 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. KG played the entire 4th quarter.
Doc Rivers emptied the holster for this one. He played 10 guys and while I can't say they all played well, they all made positive plays.
Keyon Dooling had two 3-pointers. His first trey (3Q) broke the Celtics streak of 19 consecutive three-point misses in the series.
Marquis Daniels had 4 points, 2 rebounds and a game-high +11 in 15 minutes.
Even Ryan Hollins contributed 2 rebounds in 6 high-energy minutes.
The Celtics team defense deserves mention. They held the Hawks to 80 points and 34% FG. The C's tightened the screws with about 3 minutes to go in the 3rd. Leading 65-54, Atlanta would score just 15 points the rest of the game. The Celtics bullied Atlanta and they wilted.
"Win, lose or draw, the officials did a heckuva job tonight," – Tommy Heinsohn
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