Atlanta Hawks: Celtics 89, Hawks 81 (updated)

The Hawks got off to a fast start, but fell apart and lost to the Celtics on Saturday night, 89-81. Josh Smith finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The AJC’s Chris Vivlamore reports.


Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks had a chance.

They could have served notice to the nemesis Celtics that they are that team anymore. The team the Celtics have owned in recent years.

However, the Hawks let a 19-point second-quarter lead evaporate – in less than 12 minutes – in a 89-81 loss to the Celtics Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Celtics got physical with the Hawks and they did not respond – a fact that had coach Larry Drew ‘concerned’ following the game.

“This is a very, very disappointing loss,” Drew said. “Probably, for me, the most disappointing loss of the season for the mere fact of playing against a team we have battled in the past and we’ve seen this type of scenario before where we have played well and then when it starts to get a little bit physical, when they start playing a little bit rougher, when they start make things a little more difficult for us, we don’t respond. That was clearly what happened tonight.

“I’m concerned because this is the NBA and you have to expect that. When you play against teams that do smack you, you have to respond. It’s just the way it is. Everybody has to do it. Every team in this league has to do it. When you don’t’ do it you get labeled. You get a tag on you. That’s the last thing I want to happen to my ball club.”

The Hawks lost six of nine game games against the Celtics last season, including a first-round playoff defeat (4-2). The only regular-season game the Hawks won came when the Celtics played without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. The Celtics also won the memorable seven-game playoff series in 2008 when much of the history between the teams began.

The Celtics entered the third quarter trailing by 15 points. They came out of the period leading by nine points, 71-62. They used a 33-9 third quarter run to erase the deficit as the Hawks shot a meager 14.3 percent (2 of 9) coming out of halftime.

“You can’t compound things,” Drew said. “You can’t keep turning the ball over. You can’t have bad shot selection. You can’t have defensive breakdowns. That just adds more and more problems to the equation. And then you sense the body language. And I sensed it, honestly, at the end of the second quarter because they were playing us a little bit physical. I’m sure they went into halftime and said ‘Guys, all we have to do is keep climbing, keep pushing up in them, and we’ll get back in the game.’ That’s exactly what happened.”

The Hawks (20-12) have lost two straight and three of their past four games. After managing to cut their deficit to five points, 79-74, in the fourth quarter the Celtics scored six straight points to regain a comfortable margin.

Lou Williams led the Hawks with a season-high 28 points, 21 coming in the first half. Jeff Teague added 17 points and Josh Smith had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Defensively, I think they did a great job of making it tough for us to catch,” Williams said. “They were pressuring everything. They made it tough for Jeff to get us into plays. They made it tough for us on our in-bounds plays. That’s been their makeup for a number of years. They’ve always been known as a defensive team and tonight we got the worst of it.”

The Celtics (16-17) have won two straight after a four-game losing skid.

Rondo had his 25th career triple-double with 14 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds. Pierce had 26 points and Garnett added 14 points.

Rondo escaped a possible ejection and fine when he made contact with official Rodney Mott  while arguing a called for a charge with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter.

The Hawks led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and 19 points in the second quarter. They took a 53-38 lead into halftime.

Williams’ 21 first-half points tied the team record for most points in a half this season. Smith also had 21 in a Dec. 26 game against the Pistons. Williams scored 17 of the Hawks’ first 23 points, all in the opening quarter, as the team shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from the field. They ended the half shooting 52.5 percent, including 7 of 15 3-point attempts.

The big lead was for naught – gone in minutes. The Hawks are left licking their wounds it what could have been a statement game.

Drew canceled a planned day off Sunday and called a team practice.

“I don’t really get it how an opponent can get (us) out of the game for 48 minutes,” Zaza Pachulia said. “I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s all about us. We should all look in the mirror, all of us, the whole team.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @AJCHAWKS

192 comments Add your comment

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:28 pm

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:28 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

JaeEvolution

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Lou Williams is a great starter, it’s just too bad the bench becomes nothing if he does start.

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

High-sider

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

High-sider

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Sorry Azz Bigs! Call them out!

DANNY YOU HAVE NO POST PLAYERS! Nada.Zilch! Zero…..

Go get Cousins asap!

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

Huh?

January 5th, 2013
9:31 pm

keith

January 5th, 2013
9:32 pm

ATROCIOUS BASKETBALL IN THE 2ND HALF

We had absolutely no leadership on the floor in the 2nd half…Bigs played worse than smalls….

Sameba

January 5th, 2013
9:32 pm

I am not watching any more games while LD is the HC.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 5th, 2013
9:32 pm

The Hawks are, for lack of a better word, the Celtics’ bitches.

High-sider

January 5th, 2013
9:34 pm

“Osh” (Smith), keep playing to your weaknesses by shooting 3s and long 2s; that should help you make the All-Star team (sarcasm). Oh yeah, don’t practice FT shooting. (smh)

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:34 pm

The schedule and the NBA as caught the high flying Hawks..

Their BIGS are being De-winged on a nightly basis!

Not the guards fault that these BIGS are have not post game! To go to..

KG had somebody on lockdown! Hmmmmm

And the other one was shooting blanks…

Najeh Davenpoop

January 5th, 2013
9:35 pm

In their last 12 games, the Hawks are 6-6. They are 3-3 at home and 3-3 on the road in that span. They have one double digit win (92-75 over Chicago) and three double digit losses (to Houston, Philadelphia, and Golden State).

During that streak, they are scoring an average of 96.5 points per game and giving up an average of 98.3 points per game.

In other words, their average game in the last three weeks has seen them outscored by 2 points.

The carriage has turned back into a pumpkin. This is an average team until further notice.

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:35 pm

no post^^^^^

JaeEvolution

January 5th, 2013
9:36 pm

As long as the Rockets keep winning and the Hawks finish no lower than 6th, I can’t bother getting upset about the team.

NORRIS CHUCK

January 5th, 2013
9:37 pm

Just by looking at the Hawks schedule that last ten games, the only victory of any value they got was against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.

Danny Ferry needs to get on the phone and shed Josh as soon as possible, the guy is a cancer on this team. Larry Drew has got to be hanging by a thread too!

Once again we see a team shooting too many jumpers and not rebounding and a coach and player that continues to do the same things every night and nobody is calling them out!

This team is finally showing its true colors folks, and they might be out of the playoffs by seasons end. Once the schedule gets tougher the real Hawks will show up.

FIRE DREW and CUT TIES WITH SMOOVE!

keith

January 5th, 2013
9:38 pm

“AL Horford Not quite ready for PRIMETIME!”

I truly did not expect much from Josh. But AL., he absolutely was a “Non-factor” on offense or defense tonight…I SAW NOTHING FROM THESE 2 GUYS THAT GAVE ME HOPE THAT THEY WILL EVER COMPETE WITH ELITE TEAMS…

We have all been “DUPED” by the PLETHORA of ESPN dunking highlights with Josh and AL…
Tired of the getting urinated on and being told that it is raining!!!

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:39 pm

“Bigs played worse than smalls….”

Most nights they do!

Dismantle this front line and bring two post players in here…

This is on Danny to fix..Or the wheels may come off..

6-6 last 12? Hmmm, means they are coming off already…

W.R. Terrell

January 5th, 2013
9:39 pm

The “Smoove” went 4-17, 6 TO’s, 10 rebounds 12 pts nuff said. DF is getting a good look as far as who to keep and LD and Josh are out the door. Forget a draft pick for him or a decent player at the trade deadline, if that occurs consider the HAWKS lucky for getting a 2nd round pick. The good news is that the HAWKS will have draft picks and plenty of dollars to spend and a decent nucleus of complimentary players as in Al, ZaZa, Ivan, Kyle, Lou, JJ, Anthony Morrow, Petro and Mike Scott and 44 mil to spend. The good times are coming but not this year and forget the playoffs that ain’t happening but a good placing in the lottery is. All the Josh fans keep on believing, and dreaming because he is truly a nightmare.

northcyde

January 5th, 2013
9:41 pm

LOL @ Hawks Live . . . why even talk about Rondo’s bump? Focus on why Larry Drew keeps jerking around with Ivan Johnson’s minutes?

beone

January 5th, 2013
9:42 pm

Josh is Josh. After 9 years, he is what he is. I was high on Teague but he doesn’t appear to have enough heart to make a good PG. Stevenson is a waste of a roster spot. Their great run is over IMO.

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:43 pm

COUSINS WOULD HAVE PUT UP 28 AND 15 ON THE CELTICS TONIGHT!

lanorris39

January 5th, 2013
9:43 pm

The game was lost when Kyle was checking p.p

keith

January 5th, 2013
9:44 pm

I am getting ready to watch a real competent BIG, Al Jefferson, destroy the Denver Nuggets…A Corey Brewer sighting already…”2 future Hawks, Maybe????

BIG K IN DA HOUSE(6″1″ 243)

TBhawkfan

January 5th, 2013
9:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Najeh Davenpoop

January 5th, 2013
9:45 pm

Sorry about your Bengals northcyde. Another team full of Georgia natives getting stomped when it matters. Something about this state is allergic to the playoffs and crunch time.

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:45 pm

LARRY MUST BE LOONEY TO BRING IVAN IN FOR TOKEN MINUTES IN THE 4TH QTR?

LOONEY……..

NORRIS CHUCK

January 5th, 2013
9:45 pm

I dont even know why im getting all worked up over this
“Replacement” squad, i am however gonna be worked up with the money they are going to have for the upcoming season. So, i keep telling myself not to get worked up, but man im sick of Larry Drew and Josh Smith and Al Horford shooting jumpers all night every game.

Teams win championships when players know their roles and assignments and actually perform them. These guys play well when the pass the ball but as soon as one person (im not calling any names) starts jacking up shots, everybody else follows suit.

And dude wants to be an All-Star? LOL!!!

northcyde

January 5th, 2013
9:46 pm

Larry Drew . . . . . basically calling the team “soft” in his post-game conference. Saying that they didn’t “respond” when things got a little “tougher”.

Well, stop putting SOFT lineups out on the floor Larry.

Haha . . there’s his favorite word: “energy”. Energy wasn’t up at the start of the 3rd quarter.

No day off for the Hawks tomorrow because of the loss. He was planning on giving them the day off.

keith

January 5th, 2013
9:47 pm

Nuggets have some nice cheerleaders…I saw why Kobe went “Nuts” in Colorado…..

TBhawkfan

January 5th, 2013
9:48 pm

no problem ld said we will learn from this. what will they learn from this?

northcyde

January 5th, 2013
9:48 pm

Just a horrible 5 hours of sports watching for me Najeh.

The Bengals offense looked like the Hawks offense in the 2nd half. Having an overrated young QB who can’t make plays when it counts doesn’t help either.

At least as the Bengals game was winding down, the Hawks were killing the Celtics. But the more I watched, the worse the Hawks played.

If I were an alcoholic, I’d definitely get drunk tonight.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 5th, 2013
9:48 pm

There are plenty of places to spread the blame for this team — LD taking way too long to adjust to Pierce posting up Korver in the 3rd quarter, LD not playing Ivan, Teague not setting up his teammates in the 3rd quarter, Josh and Al getting murdered on the boards — but it boils down to the fact that this team, top to bottom, is scared of the Celtics. As soon as the Celtics start putting together a run they sh-t their pants and start crying for Mommy.

vava74 coined the term “Diaper Al”… well, against the Celtics, these are the Diaper Hawks.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 5th, 2013
9:49 pm

If I was Vivlamore I’d be asking Josh and Teague why they sh-t their pants every time they see KG, Pierce, and Rondo, which is why I am not a beat writer.

Slimjr

January 5th, 2013
9:50 pm

The Hawks Bigs migh as well put on skirts and stilettos when they play the Celtics..

No POST GAME= No shot…