BOSTON - Only by a half-game over Miami, but pretty strange, I bet, for some of you to read.
I’m at Logan, waiting for a 7 a.m. flight back home. While I’ve got a few minutes, I figured I’d dump a few more quotes on you and look ahead. The big news is that Chris Paul won’t be in the lineup, out with a sprained ankle sustained Friday against Portland in new coach Jeff Bower’s debut. That obviously tilts the balance a bit in the Hawks’ direction.
Boston Globe story on http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2009/11/14/atlantas_growth_spurt_was_the_biggest_factor/;
Boston Herald game story.
My http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/with-huge-rebounding-night-197066.htmlfiled after the print deadline.
From the locker rooms at the TD Garden:
Kevin Garnett: “They draw one on ones a lot, a lot of isolation basketball. Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are two of the best at that. I thought team-wise, they spread us out and they did a good job. Kudos to them. They beat us up tonight.
Crawford: “I could definitely tell (it meant a lot to the team to beat Boston). This is a big test for us. It’s only one game, but I think it does a lot for our confidence and makes us [know] that we can play against anybody, back home or on the road.”
Johnson: “They came out and made a run (in the third quarter). I think they went up six or seven. Like I said, we kept our composure, kept working, kept moving the basketball and mainly we got defensive stops that led to transition baskets.”
“Defensively, we had to do the little things. When there were loose balls, we were getting them. We were quicker to the ball than they were. Those are the things that count that don’t show up in the stat book.”
You can point to a lot of different parts of the game that factored, but I think that first half of the third quarter that Johnson referenced was pretty important. The Hawks got down seven, tied it up, then got down six and tied it up again. Not long after that, Johnson hit a three to go up 63-62, and the Hawks never trailed after that. It was like the Hawks took the Celtics’ best punch and then counterattacked.
I’ll be curious to see what shakes out in coming weeks. I think it’s not very realistic that they’ll play at this level all the time. They’re going to kick another one at some point like they did to Charlotte, like Denver did against the Hawks last Saturday, like it looks like the Lakers did against the Nuggets Friday. But I wonder to what extent this will increase their belief in what they’re doing and motivate them to keep the foot on the gas.
What do you think?