Celtics at Atlanta Hawks: Celtics still ‘the team’ in the East

The Heat are streaking. The Bulls, tops in the East, have been consistent all year.

Then there are the Celtics.

“It’s a team that has been there and done that,” Josh said. “They’ve played through a lot of injuries, especially last year when people had written them off and didn’t t think they were going to make the Finals and they did and had a shot to win it. That doesn’t surprise me about this team.”

The C’s are old, injured, smaller and most nights seemingly sputtering to the playoffs. Except those times they are not, like last night’s W at San Antonio without Shaq and with Krstic leaving the game early.

It was a timely reminder that the Celtics are the defending East champs. They can get it done when they are right or find a way when they are not.

“They are the team until somebody proves them wrong,” Smoove said. “They have been the team these past couple of years. Those teams you just named [Bulls and Heat] are just hot teams that people are talking about. But what they have got to understand is this a veteran ball club and they have been in these situations.

“Regular season doesn’t matter, it’s what you do in the postseason. This is a veteran ballclub who has been together who have three Hall of Fame players on their team and they have already figured out how to get it done. The Miami situation is still up in the air how make that work in the postseason. This team, they already understand. They know.”

There’s going to be a lot of focus on Hawks-Magic the next few days. But if the Hawks are looking to do anything beyond just getting by the Magic before bowing out in the second round, chances are they are going to have to deal with the C’s.

“They have got a great core of guys, man,” J.J. said. “You are talking about Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rondo. Those guys have been leading their team for the last three, four or five years. They are the team that you have to go through in the Eastern Conference to get to the Finals. This time of year, they are stepping their game up and gearing up for the playoffs.”

Against the Spurs Rondo went for 22, 14 and 5. After an uneven, injury-affected stretch in March, he’s looking ready to lead the Celtics on another title run.

“When they are most effective is when Rondo is effective with the basketball,” Josh said. “You seen it last night: it looked like everybody was kind of drained a little bit and then he picked up his intensity and energy and I think that got everybody else geared up to play.”

Game notes

  • Krstic is out. J. O’Neal is likely to start for Boston.
  • L.D. said he’s likely to go with the Twin lineup: “Looking at matchups, our last game with them we did start the big lineup and I thought had some pretty good success with it so that is kind of where I am leaning right now.”
  • Twin got (rightly) knocked for being out of shape last season. He deserves credit for keeping himself ready this season. “He’s a professional,” Josh said. “He understands what he needs to do on the court. When you have a guy like that who knows his role that definitely is a big plus for this ball club. He does a good job frustrating bigs and playing the right way. He is able to knock down the outside jump shot where the bigs aren’t able to sit in the paint and they have to contest the outside jump shot.”
  • No, it’s true: Twin is 13 for 30 from 16 to 23 feet, according to Hoopdata.
  • Strange stat: Josh is 0 for 11 on field goals in 85 minutes played vs. Boston this season.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

604 comments Add your comment

timmy

April 1st, 2011
2:43 pm

firt post first !

timmy

April 1st, 2011
2:50 pm

happy to join you guys! i agree with most of the sentiment around the blog. go hawks!

Daddilicious

April 1st, 2011
2:50 pm

Daddilicious

April 1st, 2011
2:51 pm

Grandad

April 1st, 2011
2:53 pm

” This is a veteran ballclub who has been together who have
three Hall of Fame players on their team ”

Four counting Shaq, come play-offs.

oldmike

April 1st, 2011
3:00 pm

This seems like a game that would call for JT to start at the point. He is capable of frustrating Rondo. But we have to get Jamal going so it’s likely to be another DNP-CD or – if it’s a blowout – scrub minutes with the second unit.

MaxxHawk

April 1st, 2011
3:04 pm

Hawks need to do what they did last year against this team, which is get out and run. Jeff Teague better get some minutes against Rondo tonight

SWAT Native

April 1st, 2011
3:10 pm

Very solid points by Smoove. I especially like the comment that regular season doesn’t matter, it’s what you do in the playoffs. That said, this is a big game for the Hawks to show that they are ready to compete with the top teams in the East with the playoffs on the horizon.

Grandad

April 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

Just curious;
are there any future HOF`rs on the Hawks?
I think not ?

” If You don’t think developing a winning culture is important;
then think about this:
only seven teams have won an NBA championship since 1980 ”
—Brad Stevens— ‘ Butler University ‘

Winning culture, NBA champs, HOF players, go hand in hand.

You argue – Big market
I argue – SA Spurs
You argue – luck [draft]
I argue – Winning Culture RC Buford & ” Pops ”

My point = Get an owner who will develop a ” W.C. ”
[r.e. Arthur Blank / Falcons]
LD is not the problem, it starts @ the top.
* Please understand I’m not giving LD a pass
** The problem is deeper than just him / right Dev ?

doc

April 1st, 2011
3:46 pm

gd agreed ut starts at top

top hired ld :-)

man only seven teams in thirty years?

can you name them?

ill also say five to the hof list as rondo should make it if his career continues to build.

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
3:49 pm

Regular season doesn’t matter for teams who have demonstrated success in the playoffs. Excuse me. And if Collins is such a professional, why did he look like the Michelin man last season while collecting a paycheck… or did he just become a professional over the summer? And wasn’t LD “leaning” on the regular line-up yesterday… dude needs to stop letting the wind blow him from one lean to another. STFU and make a decision.

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
3:50 pm

Oops, excuse me, but the Hawks don’t have the luxury of blowing off 82 games and then turning on the mental faculties and effort when the post-season starts. Champions may be able to pull that off.

doc

April 1st, 2011
3:51 pm

houston
chicago
detroit
miami
l a
boston
san antoine

man hard to believe if that is it off the top of my head.

how many does phil have, gluttony and no accident. it starts at the top.

doc

April 1st, 2011
3:53 pm

gd, wonder how manyvcoaches have rings in that same time span?

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
3:55 pm

I think it is more than 7… Celtics, Bulls, Pistons, Heat, Sixers, Lakers, Spurs, Rockets… with 5 of those teams having multiple titles (all but Heat & Sixers). Or was the Moses/Dr. J team slightly before the 30-year mark?

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
3:56 pm

doc, yeah, my list was off the top of my head, too. Just don’t ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday. :lol:

northcyde

April 1st, 2011
3:58 pm

Drew should NOT start the big lineup tonight. Collins value to this team is as a defender who can slow down a scoring center who has a lot of offense flowing through him. Tonight is a game in which the center for the Celtics isn’t going to have a lot of offense going through the 5 position.

Guys like KG and Pierce and Big Baby are going to be the ones taking the shots in the halfcourt for Boston. So whomever plays the 5 tonight, is going to have to gobble up their misses. This is NOT Collins strong suit as a player.

It’s a recipe for disaster if Collins starts tonight. I hope Drew either leaves him on the bench, or realizes very quickly that he’ll be ineffective tonight.

bigdave

April 1st, 2011
4:11 pm

dont know how i feel about Josh on Paul.. id hate to see him taken out of his game early b/c of 2 1st qrt fouls..

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:13 pm

To me it’s sad that this late in the season we’re still talking what if, hopefully, if they will choose to show up. This team has proven nothing to me all year except the same inconsistent, lack of professional play that bleeds tons of talent, yet never realizes it.

I haven’t blogged of late because of late…I almost don’t care. The team wrecked their chances at gaining fans and momentum for the playoff push last month. They’ll probably whine about not being supported as they struggle to compete in the first round. Anything less than a cometitive 2nd round appearance this year = FAILURE.

AMEN TO THE WINNING CULTURE AND PROFESSSIONALISM COMMENTS! GET IT DONE HAWKS, WE’VE BEEN THERE DONE THAT WITH THE GIVING UP AND SLACKING OFF! IT’S TIME TO PLAY LIKE PROFESSIONALS AND LEAVE IT ON THE COURT.

Anything less is disrespecting yourself, your city and your fans.

doc

April 1st, 2011
4:15 pm

think sixers were in my glory days of the seventies aj. man life was good. actually watched most of the games those days or recorded them on my vcr tapes. heh heh

doc

April 1st, 2011
4:18 pm

agreed nc

unfortunately i will have to watch the undoing of it up close and personal.

i can hear josh now about two minutes into the game ” get him out of here, he is too slow!”

heartofdarkness

April 1st, 2011
4:18 pm

Time for the Hawks to treat the Shamrock crew like an irate haberdasher in the front row at Philips.

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
4:20 pm

lewis

April 1st, 2011
4:21 pm

starting collins is an awful decision smoove cannot cover pierce

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:25 pm

We’ve done well going small against Boston, when we actually play to our strengths. Collins isn’t the answer tonight, professional effort from all players is.

ant banks

April 1st, 2011
4:27 pm

for those who care…JC2 scored 39 points the other day.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:30 pm

I contended that we should’ve traded JC1 for a decent Center prospect and allowed JC2 to find his way. He won’t score those kind of points with any contender. It’s easy to rack up stats on a losing team. I’d say he’s going to pan out much like Morrow, which honestly I would’ve taken over JC1 given his production this year.

For those who care, our defense is much better with Kirk, our offense about the same. It’s give and take.

My question is why throw Etan out there the other night, why not give Hilton a try with Dwight? He may suck, but he’d be more promising than Etan.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:33 pm

If Hilton can prove he’s got good footwork on D, grab boards and play hard he’ll make the trade a great one for the Hawks. I griped all last year to use Twin in a big line-up, only to get made fun of. Now he’s some hero? I’ll say it now, Hilton can play a valuable role for this team…if we have a coach who will use him and a team that can actually grasp the idea of using Role Players to fill a Role. Everyone can’t be the hero every night. Play your role hard = winning basketball.

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
4:33 pm

Fundamentals, Dwight would have snapped Hilton like a twig. Dwight plays a power game, what would Hilton do other than have his chest caved in?

SWAT Native

April 1st, 2011
4:36 pm

LOL @ Heart of Darkness

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:38 pm

Prove that he sucks? Hilton isn’t that small? Give him 4-5 reps, see what he can do? Dude’s back is against the wall. He needs to prove something or he’ll be out of the league quickly. I’d rather have hungry, spirited effort than lackluster talent.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:42 pm

Etan or Hilton was my original question, not that Hilton is a budding star.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
4:46 pm

“The C’s are old, injured, smaller and most nights seemingly sputtering to the playoffs. Except those times they are not, like last night’s W at San Antonio without Shaq and with Krstic leaving the game early.”

To be fair, the Spurs are sputtering too, and yesterday was the first game back for their big three. I think the C’s still have serious issues without Perkins. Hopefully those issues are serious enough that the Hawks can take advantage tonight.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
4:48 pm

““When they are most effective is when Rondo is effective with the basketball,” Josh said. “You seen it last night: it looked like everybody was kind of drained a little bit and then he picked up his intensity and energy and I think that got everybody else geared up to play.””

And when the Hawks are most effective at keeping opposing point guards from being effective is when they play Teague.

I don’t get the point of the big lineup in this one. With no Shaq and no Krstic, the C’s will be playing an awful lot of Glen Davis at center. That is not a bad matchup for Al.

I would have liked to see the Teague/Kirk lineup. Match up Teague on Rondo, let Kirk chase Allen around those screens, and let Al go to work on Big Baby.

ag

April 1st, 2011
4:49 pm

JT averages 12 2 2 vs C’s. Don’t understand why he is not assigned to Rondo. He had a monster game the last time against the C’s with 18 points in 25 minutes, 8-11 fg. for the season he is 11-16 against the C’s

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
4:51 pm

“Just curious;
are there any future HOF`rs on the Hawks?”

No.

A real optimist (or depending on your point of view, an insane person) could make the argument that it’s too soon to tell for Smoove and Al, since both are still only 24. But right now, no. Not even close.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

I too like the Kirk Teague idea. Teague played well against Boston the other day… Confusing why LD just buries the kid. He can’t ever gain confidence due to poor coaching.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

Hawks HOF is Nique, no more.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
4:55 pm

“For those who care, our defense is much better with Kirk, our offense about the same. It’s give and take. ”

It’s uncanny how similar Kirk’s numbers are per minute compared to Bibby’s numbers as a Hawk this year. In most categories, they are virtually identical. And the advanced stats say Kirk hasn’t defended any better than Bibby, although my eyes tell me he has been an improvement (albeit not an enormous one).

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2011
4:59 pm

Geez, Najeh, Teague made some incredible impression on you in those handful of games that he played if you think the Hawks are at their best when he is on the floor.

Sautee

April 1st, 2011
4:59 pm

Najeh,

Not to mention that Al vs. KG is an awful matchup for Al, while Josh plays KG about as good as anyone. And in this case, I think Marvin would be better on Pierce than Josh.

I’d feel differently if the big lineup gave Al a mismatch, but in this case it’s the other way around, IMO.

Fundamentals

April 1st, 2011
5:00 pm

Agreed Sautee.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
5:00 pm

“Teague made some incredible impression on you in those handful of games that he played if you think the Hawks are at their best when he is on the floor.”

I think the Hawks are at their best guarding opposing point guards when Teague is on the floor. Are they at their best overall? No way to know for sure, since he hasn’t really been given the opportunity to prove it one way or another.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2011
5:03 pm

ag

April 1st, 2011
5:07 pm

AJ
I have watched this kid play. Did you see the Cav game last year? What about the Celtics game this year? I know you had to see the Portland game? This guy needs floor time.

doc

April 1st, 2011
5:10 pm

aj good job man

buried in books and the wards of med school at that point. better call up the bradley coach before he rewrites history. :-)

ag

April 1st, 2011
5:28 pm

Forgot to mention the Miami game when he played well scoring 20 points in less than 20 minutes. He was a perfect 4-4 from the 3pt

Geemack

April 1st, 2011
5:39 pm

The Hawks will lose by 25 tonight. The Celtics went to San Antonio and spank the Spurs last night.

The Hawks have a habit of coming out flat when they’ve had a few days off.

ag

April 1st, 2011
5:40 pm

I think they are getting hot. Josh not shooting as much, Marvin driving to the hole, Jamal starting to hit some shots. Big win for Hawks.

summerhill ga

April 1st, 2011
6:01 pm

j oneal…”he’s got people”…