2012 NBA Playoffs Game 2 Celtics Vs. Hawks Game Thread, TV, Radio Info, And More

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Atlanta Hawks 11-12 First Round Playoffs Game 2

Celticslogosmall_medium

Hawkslogomedium_medium

39-27
40-26
Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
May 1, 2012, 7:00 PM
FOX Sport South, NBATV, 99X and 98.9 FM, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Avery Bradley PG Jeff Teague
Mickael Pietrus SG Kirk Hinrich
Paul Pierce SF Joe Johnson
Brandon Bass PF Josh Smith
Kevin Garnett C Jason Collins

Atlanta Hawks Lead Series 1-0

Hawks Injury/Inactive Report: Al Horford (pectoral) and Zaza Pachulia (foot) are out.

Celtics Injury/Inactive Report: Ray Allen (ankle) is doubtful, and Rajon Rondo is out (suspension).

More SB Nation Coverage: SB Nation Atlanta, CelticsBlog

Game/Series Preview:

Every single game in the playoffs is a must-win, and this game isn't an exception. This game is actually not only a must win for the Hawks, but a should win.

The Hawks are in good position to go up 2-0 in this series with the Celtics missing its best play maker (Rajon Rondo) and its best perimeter shooter (Ray Allen).

If the Hawks can win this game, they'll really put themselves in a good position to win the series as the Celtics will have to win 4 out of the next 5 games. If the Hawks lose this game, they'll lose home court advantage and have to head to Boston for the next two games with the Celtics having momentum.

Even though the Hawks won the first game, and even though the Celtics will be without arguably their best player, the general consensus (from what I've seen from the national media anyway) is that the Celtics will still come up with the win tonight. Why? Because people are betting on the Celtics being the Celtics and the Hawks being the Hawks. In other words, they trust the Celtics a lot while they don't trust the Hawks at all.

Fair? That's up for you to judge.

5 Things To Watch For:

There are so many things to watch for and so many things to key on, but here are my Top 5.

  • Paul Pierce. When Rondo doesn't play in a game, Doc Rivers, at times, likes to put Paul Pierce in a Point-Forward role. Doc puts the ball in Pierce's hands and lets him either create a shot for himself or create a shot for others. Pierce actually embraces that role and has excelled at it this season.
  • Joe Johnson's offensive game. This is the one thing I worry about the most. Joe Johnson had an off-Game 1, to say the least. He missed open shots and struggled to take care of the ball and create shots in the half court set. Joe has been quoted that he has to make changes by going quicker and not hold on to the ball as much. Joe has to stay true to his words if he wants to help this team.
  • Jason Collins defending Kevin Garnett. KG opted to post up more than go pick-and-pop and as a result, his first half was terrible. Collins defended him in the post very well, but when KG decided to go outside or take Collins off the dribble, he hurt the Hawks. If KG abuses Collins tonight, how early can LD decide to put Josh Smith or Ivan Johnson on him?
  • Jeff Teague. One negative thing that happened for the Hawks with the Rondo suspension, is that the Celtics will have Bradley defending Teague instead of Rondo. Rondo is a good defender, but I think Bradley is a tougher match-up for Teague. He has the size, quickness, and hands to really bother him. Teague's aggressiveness is a question mark coming into every game, and for tonight, his aggressiveness has to be at a high if he wants to be effective.
  • Which role player will step up and make shots? Kirk Hinrich and Jannero Pargo were relied on to making 6 three pointers in Game 1, and I'm sure that, that kind of play from the Hawks' role players has to be duplicated (if not, improved). Hinrich, Pargo, Green, McGrady, Williams, Johnson, and maybe Radmanovic are always the candidates. At least 2 of the 7 have to perform and contribute to take some off the pressure from Johnson, Smith, and Teague.

Playoff Series Summary:

Game 1 (April 29th): Celtics 74, Hawks 83: The Hawks started off hot from the gates, and never looked back. In a game that had 0 lead changes, Josh Smith along with Jeff Teague led the Hawks to a 9 point win in front of a sold out Philips Arena crowd. The Hawks had control of the game for the most part, but got fans worried in the end when they let the Celtics cut it down all the way to 4 points with 1 minute left in the game. The Hawks closed it out though as they made 5 out of their next 6 free throws. It was a needed win for the Hawks, but the story of the game came late when Rajon Rondo got ejected for bumping into referee Marc Davis. The bump also cost Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics a suspension for Game 2.

Quick Hits:

  • Larry Drew's playoff record is now 7-6, including a 5-2 record at home.
  • The Hawks all-time record vs. the Celtics in the playoffs is now 23-36.
  • Joe Johnson and Josh Smith will play their 43rd playoff game in an Atlanta Hawks uniform, which is good for 6th best all-time in franchise history. Doc Rivers is 5th all-time in franchise history with 44. Tree Rollins is 1st with 56.
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