Just got back from Boston and am in the office, waiting to head over to Philips for practice.
Two Boston Globe stories from last night’s game.
Game story that focuses on Glen Davis‘ flagrant foul on Marvin Williams, and what happened after.
“I was surprised,’’ Davis said. “I’m a big guy. I don’t feel like I did it intentionally. Really, when I was coming down, I was trying to hold him from falling. The refs made a decision. I can’t get mad and upset at them.’’
A column questioning the Celtics’ status at the top of the East.
(Joe) Johnson, who finished with 36, is a quiet assassin. The former Celtic – can you believe he was traded to Phoenix for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers? – is one of the league’s best pure scorers and shows no emotion when he snuffs the confidence of opposing defenses. The Hawks are a young team and Johnson is only 28, but he has a veteran savvy that teammates pick up on.
From the Boston Herald:
“We still feel we’re the better team,” said an exhausted Paul Pierce, who like the rest of a closing unit that included Glen Davis, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins, played the last 19 minutes without a substitution by associate coach Tom Thibodeau, who took over for Rivers. (Ed. note: That was pretty big. Brian Scalabrine had been eating up the Hawks but I don’t think he played in the fourth quarter.)
“The year we won the (2008) championship, we lost four times to Washington. It definitely bothered us, but we’re a better team, and it will show.”
Perkins seconded that emotion.
“It’s not like I fear them,” he said. “I don’t think anyone on this team fears them. They look at us like a rival, but I don’t think we look at them as a rivalry team.”
ESPN’s Daily Dime touts the Hawks as “legitimate playoff contenders.”
It’s funny to me, I may have said this before, but I’m going to guess that Joe Johnson, as well as the Hawks, are held in much higher esteem outside of metro Atlanta than they are in it, or at least by the various participants on the blog. It reminds me of the Bible verse about how a prophet has no honor in his own country and, no, I’m not comparing the Hawks to Jesus. It’s just the sense that the grass is greener on the other side and that, the more you can look at something, the more warts you start to see. I imagine there’s people in Paris who are like, “The Mona Lisa? My five-year-old could paint that.”
I was on a radio show in Cleveland before the Hawks’ two-game set with the Cavaliers, and we were talking about fans’ disenchantment with Johnson’s overdribbling, and the show hosts were saying how Cavs fans have the same gripe about LeBron James.
Now, frankly, I tend to think that my colleagues in Boston have overrated the Hawks a little bit – they certainly wouldn’t have called Johnson an assassin on Saturday. But I also think that maybe many of us underrate the Hawks, too.
Anyway, my take on what Pierce and Perkins said. I think they might be on to something. Yes, the Hawks have now taken three in a row. However, Boston’s record is better and I think you’d have to say they’re a better night-in, night-out team. If, for example, Boston finishes with 57 wins and the Hawks sweep the Celtics but finish with 50, wouldn’t you have to say that they’re better than the Hawks?
If you say that winning three in a row means that the Hawks are better than the Celtics, then couldn’t you make a similar argument that the Knicks are better than the Hawks?
Clearly, the Hawks have played with focus and determination against Boston that we haven’t seen against other teams. The Celtics, perhaps not surprisingly, haven’t been able to match the sort of playoff-type fervor that the Hawks save for them.