So why is it that the Hawks seem to get up for the Celtics more than any of the other members of the East Elite Tri-Council?
Well, when you consider that the Celtics boast three stars, won a championship in 2008 and owned the Hawks until this season, the real question is: Why wouldn’t the Hawks bring a little something extra against the C’s?
“We know we have to play on a totally different level against that team,” J.J. said. “They’ve got so many threats you can’t have no letdowns.”
If you are so inclined–and I know some of you are–you could take all the things that theoretically are working for the Hawks tonight and turn them around into signs of danger:
1. There’s that 3-0 record against Boston this season. That means the Hawks either a) have Boston’s number or b) can expect the Celtics, with prideful KG back, to do everything in their power to avoid their first four-game season sweep by the Hawks since ‘95-’96.
2. The Celtics left their energy in Orlando, where they blew a 16-point lead last night. That means the Celtics either a) will be too spent to do battle with the Hawks even if they really, really want this one especially since KG is still gimpy or b) will re-focus behind KG, who is ticked about giving up a game-winning layup to Rashard Lewis.. From the Boston Globe:
“I’ve got to be better. I told the guys it was on me and I’ve got to be better defensively. I’ll remember it, it fuels me, it will motivate me, so I’m better [tonight]’.’
Or maybe none of that plays a factor and the Hawks really are just better than the Celtics right now. Woody doesn’t think so.
“I still think they are the best team in the East,” he said.
– Woody said Al Horford , who got six stitches for a gash on his left thumb Monday at Houston, never complained about the injury that night or during the shootaround at San Antonio on Wednesday. Before the Hawks played the Spurs, Horford said he had trouble dribbling with his left hand but that’s about it.
Today, though, Horford acknowledged that when he returned to the game at Houston the thumb was “numb, I couldn’t really feel it” and “it was really bothering me” vs. the Spurs.
“Today, it feels a whole lot better,” Horford said. “I’ll be good to go tonight.”
Though he never used the thumb as an excuse, the injury might explain Horford’s 2-for-10 shooting against the Spurs. He still managed to get 10 rebounds vs. Houston and nine vs. San Antonio.
– The Hawks must win to keep alive Woody’s chances of joining Al and J.J. in Dallas for All-Star game. If the Celtics win tonight, the Hawks won’t surpass them for second place in the East by the end of Sunday.
– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.