Instant Reaction: It's a tough loss to swallow, but read the title. The Hawks were without their three best front court players and were still in it. It would have been nice to get a win, but the Hawks still surpassed a lot of people's expectations.
The Hawks' goal coming into Game 3 was to at least steal one win in Boston in either Game 3 or Game 4. With Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Zaza Pachulia nursing injuries, I (along with everyone) believed that the chances of the Hawks stealing a win in Game 3 was pretty low.
Lo and behold, the Hawks had a chance. They stayed competitive and gave the Celtics and their fans a bit of a scare. No, the Hawks didn't win the game but looking back at it right now, the fact that they almost won the game even without having 3 of their best front court players...is pretty impressive.
There is no such thing as a "good" loss. There isn't a reason why anyone should be proud of a loss either. I won't blame anyone if they're devastated or disappointed that the Hawks couldn't complete stealing a win in Game 3, but I don't see the reasoning on nit-picking every single bad thing the Hawks did in this game when really....they shouldn't (at least according to everyone's expectations coming into the game) even have had a chance to stay competitive.
Did Larry Drew have substitution/lineup problems again? Yeah. Could Joe Johnson have been more efficient? Yeah. Could Jeff Teague have been more aggressive down the stretch? Yeah.
There are so many aspects that you can say "they could have done better here and they would have won the game" but honestly, look back at what your expectations coming into this game was and ask yourself "Did the Hawks exceed it?". I'm sure almost everyone's answer would be "Yes, they did exceed expectations".
It would have been great if the Hawks would have gotten the win, but their overall effort tonight needs to be commended, especially given the circumstances they were presented.
The Hawks are down 2-1 in this series, but as these past 3 games have shown, the Hawks are not out of the series and will still have a shot on winning it.
Quick Notable Notes:
- Joe Johnson scored 29 points (in 28 shots). Made big shots in the 4th quarter.
- Jeff Teague is going to be a force to be reckon with once he works out his "confidence/aggressiveness" problem. Has the talent to take over games, he just needs the attitude. Finished with 23 points and 6 assists in 9-16 shooting.
- Before the ankle injury he suffered late in the 2nd quarter, Tracy McGrady was vintage Tracy McGrady. Anyone see that dunk? He played a season high 40 minutes and scored 12 points in 14 shots. He also grabbed 9 rebounds.
- Jannero Pargo was a major minus. Didn't make shots, dribbled too much, and passed directly to a Celtic on two occasions.
- Rondo was pretty sensational. Finished with a triple-double and created/made some big plays for his team in the 4th quarter and overtime.
- Erick Dampier played a season high 22 minutes. Scored a season high 6 points as well. Give him an icepack.
Next Game: With the Hawks down 2-1 in this series, Game 4 is going to be an important and crucial one. Game 4 will be played on Sunday, which makes it an entire week since the last Hawks win in this series. The game will be televised on TNT and coverage starts at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.