Archive for April, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks-Celtics notes and quotes

  • Zaza Pachulia (foot) is expected to miss Game 2. He’s now able to do some light walking on a treadmill but still is wearing a boot to keep pressure off the injury.
  • Doc Rivers said he doesn’t expect Ray Allen to play in Game 2: “If he is not ready, he’s not ready. One thing I will never do, and maybe I’m wrong in it, I don’t ever put a guy out who is not ready. I just won’t put him on the floor. If Ray told me in thought he could play tomorrow and [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] told me he could not, Ray would not play. That’s just the way it is.”
  • Larry Drew before the Rajon Rondo suspension came down from the league: “Certainly it changes things a little bit but, with or without him, they’ve shown they can win. They are a veteran ballclub. They’ve been in those situations where they’ve had players out. Certainly whether he is there or not we can’t let our guards down. Until we get the official word of whether he’s available or not, we are going to factor him …

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Rondo suspended, will miss Game 2

The NBA suspended Celtics all-star point guard Rajon Rondo on Monday for one game without pay for making contact with an official. Rondo will miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoff series with the Hawks Tuesday. It is the second suspension for Rondo this season for his conduct concerning an official.

Rondo bumped referee Marc Davis in the final minute of the Celtics’ Game 1 loss to the Hawks Sunday after being assessed a technical foul for arguing a call. He was subsequently given a second technical and ejected. Rondo was upset because officials called teammate Brandon Bass for a foul, instead of awarding a jump ball, during a scrum for a loose ball with Hawks forward Josh Smith.

“It’s part of the package with our team,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Monday prior to be informed of the ruling. “We are a volatile team in a lot of ways. Rondo is an emotional player. You know the old saying, I would rather kindle a fire than start one. I like his fire and …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Josh Smith lifts Hawks past Celtics

I joined The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn to review the Hawks’ 83-74 victory over the Celtics in Game 1.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Game 1: Hawks 83, Celtics 74

  • The Hawks were brilliant early, shaky in the middle and bad down the stretch. That also kind of describes the Jason Collins Game Flow after Larry Drew decided to start Collins and then play him 32 minutes in the playoff opener after not playing him more than 25 minutes all season.
  • It all worked out in the end for the Hawks. Or at least it did after Rajon Rondo decided it was a good idea to get two technical fouls and then bump official Marc Davis with his team down four points and 41 seconds to go.
  • It’s an automatic one-game suspension if league officials determine that Rondo intentionally bumped Davis. They can also add games to the penalty.
  • “I was upset about the call, and I said something to [Davis],” Rondo said. “As I was walking I thought he stopped and my momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him.”
  • The sequence led to three Hawks free throws and killed Boston’s momentum. The Celtics are in trouble if …

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Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Game 1: Game thread

  • Zaza Pachulia (foot) is out. Doc Rivers said Ray Allen (ankle) is out for the Celtics.
  • Zaza says his recovery has been “slow motion” and he’s uncertain if or when he will be able to play during the series: “I don’t have an answer about that. I really don’t. It would make it easier for you guys, me, the coaching staff and the team but I don’t have an answer.”
  • More Zaza: “It doesn’t matter if me and Al [Horford] are going to be out for the series, we are still a good team. We are going to confident. We are going to fight.”
  • Larry Drew is sticking with Jason Collins at center: “The lineup has been good for us, first of all. It hasn’t been a situation where it hasn’t worked out for us. Even with those first two losses against Boston, lineup-wise, it has been good for us. At this stage [I] don’t really want to rock the boat with that. It’s been good for us. I want to stay with it through the course of the series. If things call for change, we certainly will evaluate that and …

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Atlanta Hawks: Tracy McGrady poised for big series

I think Tracy McGrady is going to have a big series for the Hawks. There are some empirical reasons I believe this but, really, it’s based on the subjective feeling I got from watching and talking to T-Mac these past couple weeks.

T-Mac is looking and acting more like T-Mac. By that obviously I don’t mean the guy who once posted a 30.3 PER for a season and averaged more than 30 points in four straight playoff appearances. But he’s reminding me of the guy from early in the season, the one who delivered those daggers in Miami and then beamed while facing a horde of reporters afterward and bragged about his “wet jumper.”

That’s the T-Mac the Hawks need, and I think they’ll get it. Yesterday a reporter prefaced a question by telling McGrady “you may not be the same player you were 10 years ago . . .” and T-Mac cut him off:

“It wasn’t that long ago!”

McGrady laughed and so did everyone else. His spirit is back and so are his legs. T-Mac is ready.

“Physically and mentally I feel …

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Atlanta Hawks: On Doc Rivers punting home-court advantage

“Whether they play in Boston, Atlanta or Tokyo, the Celtics are going to beat the Hawks.”

That’s what Charles Barkley said the other night. It’s also what Doc Rivers implied over the final two weeks of the season.

Wasn’t that the message when Rivers started resting his players with home-court advantage against the Hawks still at stake? Didn’t Doc send out his “C” team against the Hawks at Philips Arena–and nearly win the game anyway? Certainly Doc earned the psyops W at that moment when Joe Johnson trudged back into the game because Atlanta’s reserves couldn’t finish off the likes of JaJuan Johnson.

“That’s mental,” Josh Smith said. “He’s a great mental coach. He plays mental games with his players and the other team. He’s a great coach. He knows what his team can do.”

The Celtics didn’t have to go all-out to get home-court advantage, either. The Hawks opened the door with that ugly home loss to the Raptors. Doc just shrugged.

“I’m taking rest and rhythm over home court,” …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks finish strong

Here is my video report following Atlanta’s 106-89 victory over the Mavs in the regular-season finale.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 106, Mavericks 89

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story, with quotes, from tonight’s regular-season finale win over the Mavericks. The schedule for the playoff series with the Celtics is at the bottom.

The Hawks acted fast.

With home-court advantage in the playoffs within their grasp, they wasted little time in grabbing the postseason edge. Thanks to a fast and furious first quarter the Hawks will open their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Celtics at Philips Arena Sunday. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Hawks led by as many as 23 points in the first quarter and disposed of the defending NBA champion Mavericks 106-89 on Thursday night in the regular-season finale.

There was no need to scoreboard-watch the Celtics-Bucks game. The Hawks knew if they took care of their own business, it wouldn’t matter what was happened in Boston.

“We showed a lot of determination tonight,” Joe Johnson said. “I could see that hunger before the tip coming into the locker …

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Mavericks: Game thread

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

The Hawks will be without Al Horford for at least the first round of the playoffs. This we know. It’s looking more like they could be without Zaza Pachulia. That’s the All-Star center and his backup not in the lineup versus the Celtics.

Horford, rehabbing from a torn left pectoral muscle, said he isn’t ready from a physical standpoint.

Pachulia, who will miss his seventh straight game with a sprained left foot, was wearing a walking boot when he left Philips Arena following shoot-around this morning. That’s something that he hasn’t been wearing the times I’ve seen him since suffering the injury against the Magic. Coach Larry Drew continues to term Pachulia as day-to-day. He is scheduled to be re-examined this weekend. The Hawks open the playoffs on Sunday.

I wanted to get a better idea of how the Hawks offense with differ without the two big men.

Drew made it clear this morning that it won’t be the first time they have …

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