Atlanta Hawks at Celtics Game 3: Game thread
Boston–Josh Smith (knee) is out and Marvin Williams starts at power forward. Ray Allen (ankle) will play for the first time since April 10. Rajon Rondo is back from suspension.
- Josh said he’s aiming to play in Game 4 Sunday: “I just have to rest and see how it feels. I want to get good enough to play but you never know. I don’t want to risk a domino effect and it being something more than what it is.”
- Josh tested the knee at shootaround this morning: “It felt pretty good until I started doing a lot of exploding up the basket. That’s where the pain really starts to generate when I become explosive with it. But as far as running and cutting and everything else it feels OK.”
- Yesterday Josh said he suffered the injury when Kevin Garnett banged into it while jostling for rebounding position. But he said the patellar tendonitis in his knee is a contributing factor. “I guess it caught up to me,” he said.
- The Hawks are now down their top three bigs. “Certainly it’s an uphill battle and a challenge for our team but I have all the confidence in the world these guys will step up to the challenge,” Larry Drew said.
- Josh: “We have to jell together, move the ball from side to side, and not get stagnant because this is a great defensive team. And we have to be able to match their physicality.”
- Joe Johnson: “We have just got to try to outwill them. We’ve got to find a way. We can’t dwell on or worry about what we don’t have. We have got to go for what we know. Is it going to be tough? Yeah, but it’s possible.”
- Drew said Joe still will check Paul Pierce. “Obviously with the matchup and Marvin starting at the four spot will have to do things a little differently as opposed to when Josh is in the lineup,” Drew said.
- Doc Rivers on Brandon Bass defending Marvin: “That’s hard. We worked on that all day. We thought Josh would play but we worked on the small lineup because when you look at them most of the year their best lineup has been their best lineup when they go small.”
- Joe saw heavy defensive pressure with Josh on the court. It only figures to get worse with Josh on the bench and a lack of offensive punch from among the remaining Hawks. “I’ve got to go quick or give the ball up quick and trust my teammates to make plays,” Joe said. “That’s pretty much the two things I’ve come up with. We’ll see when we get to the fourth quarter.”
- Rivers on Allen, who last played April 10: “There are no restrictions. He hasn’t played and gone up and down since he’s been injured. We’ve done some halfcourt but this is the first time he will do fullcourt since he’s been injured.”
- Suddenly Rivers is the coach warning his players not take a wounded opponent lightly: “The guys have to go out and play and at the end of the day hope they understand these are playoff games and you can’t give any away.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat