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Atlanta Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics Game Thread, Preview, TV & Radio Info, And More

Atlanta Hawks 11-12 First Round Playoffs Game 3



40-27 39-27
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
May 4, 2012, 7:30 PM
SportSouth, ESPN, 99X and 98.9 FM, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Jeff Teague PG Rajon Rondo
Kirk Hinrich SG Avery Bradley
Joe Johnson SF Paul Pierce
Marvin Williams PF Brandon Bass
Jason Collins C Kevin Garnett

Series Tied 1-1

Hawks Injury/Inactive Report: Al Horford (pectoral) and Zaza Pachulia (foot) are out. Josh Smith (left knee) is doubtful.

Celtics Injury/Inactive Report: Ray Allen (ankle) is a game-time decision.

More SB Nation Coverage: SB Nation Atlanta, CelticsBlog

Game/Series Preview:

Rajon Rondo gives us this little nugget: "It felt like we won the series already."

Things are looking bad for the Hawks. They lost homecourt advantage and are playing on the road, Rajon Rondo is back from his suspension, Josh Smith went down with an injury, Al Horford & Zaza Pachulia are still not returning any time soon, and Ray Allen might play tonight.

Things look good for the Celtics, so it's fair for Rajon Rondo to think that way...but as we all know, we shouldn't put it past the Hawks to prove him (and everyone else) wrong and win at least 1 of the next 2 games in Boston. That's just how the Hawks are.

A Hawks win in Game 3 without Josh Smith, Al Horford, or Zaza Pachulia is hard to imagine, but nothing is ever impossible with this team.

5 Questions Coming In:

There are so many things in question coming into this game. Here's my Top 5.

  • Can Joe Johnson put the team on his shoulders and help the team to stay competitive? According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Josh Smith will sit out for Game 3 and try to come back and play for Game 4. So with the Hawks having both Josh Smith and Al Horford sitting out, Joe Johnson is the lone "Big 3" piece tonight. If the Hawks have any shot on staying competitive tonight, the highest paid player on this team has to play well.
  • Can anyone stop Paul Pierce? Paul Pierce was the biggest difference maker in Game 2, as he scored 36 points for his team. Joe Johnson has been the one defending him and he hasn't found much success in doing so. Marvin Williams and Tracy McGrady will sure have to help Joe Johnson out. If Pierce goes off for 36, chalk this one up as another loss.
  • Will Larry Drew ride the bench too much again? The biggest difference maker for the Hawks in the Game 2 loss was probably Larry Drew. When he took out his starters and decided to play his bench players at the end of the 3rd quarter and the early part of the 4th, the Celtics got "hot", gained momentum, and never looked back. I personally don't mind Larry Drew using his bench, but he has to be more creative and cautious on what players are on the floor.
  • Which Hawks' "big man" will step up tonight? To say the Hawks are depleted in the front court would be an understatement. The Hawks are missing its three best front court players tonight. While the Hawks may still have Ivan Johnson, Jason Collins, Marvin Williams, Erick Dampier, and Vladimir Radmanovic to play in the front court, none of them are even comparable to what Josh Smith or Al Horford brings to the table.
  • Who will be the #2 and #3 guy? It's obvious that Joe Johnson will have to carry a lot of the load tonight, but like any team, there has to be other players that step up. One player can't carry an entire team to a win, especially against a tough defensive team like the Celtics. So one or two players have to perform well (alongside Joe Johnson) if the Hawks have a chance on winning. Teague? Marvin Williams? Ivan Johnson? Tracy McGrady? Jerry Stackhouse?!

Playoff Series Results:

Game 1 (April 29th): Celtics 74, Hawks 83

Game 2 (May 1st): Celtics 87, Hawks 80

Quick Hits:

  • Larry Drew's playoff record is now 7-7. He's 2-4 on the road.
  • The Hawks all-time record vs. the Celtics in the playoffs is now 23-37.
  • The Hawks were 17-16 on the road in the regular season, while the Celtics were 24-9 at home.
  • Joe Johnson and (possibly) Josh Smith will play in their 44th playoff game in an Atlanta Hawks uniform, which will tie for 5th in franchise history with Doc Rivers. Tree Rollins is 1st with 56.
  • If Josh Smith sits out tonight, Jeff Teague will be the only Atlanta Hawks player to have played in every game this season.