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Hawks Vs. Celtics Final Score: Atlanta Forces A Game Six In Boston After An 87-86 Win

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Instant Reaction: This was the definition of a roller coaster game. It had many ups and downs, and it was thrilling, frightening, and sickening to watch all at the same time.

5 Quick Thoughts:

  • Al Horford is 200000000000 times better than Jason Collins. I really don't think Al Horford could have had a better game given the circumstance. With this being only the 2nd game since coming back from the pectoral injury, there's no way I would think that Horford will be the one to carry the team to a win. He showed every Hawks fan exactly why they missed him. He played great help defense, boxed out and rebounded well, made mid-range shots, made good passes, got deflections, trash talked, and got the crowd going plenty of times in the game.
  • Larry Drew isn't perfect, but give him credit for making changes. I (and everyone else) will always find something I can complain about with Larry Drew, even if the Hawks win. For instance, he could have played Kirk Hinrich more instead of playing Willie Green. He should have ran more actual plays down the stretch instead of asking a cold Joe Johnson to bail him out with "Iso-Joe". But let's be fair, Larry Drew made some good decisions in this game like going back to the "original" starting 5, riding his starters for most of the game, cutting his rotation to 8 players, and replaced Erick Dampier with Al Horford before things got uglier early in the 4th quarter. Larry Drew isn't Phil Jackson, but could we be nit-picking too much about every decision he makes?
  • Hawks need more of this from Marvin Williams. An overlooked and unsung hero for this game. Marvin Williams was the first player to give the Hawks "life". In the second quarter, Marvin Williams hit two three point shots that really swung the momentum the Hawks way. He finished with 15 points in 5 for 9 shooting.
  • Kevin Garnett scares me. Garnett's intensity, as scary and as disturbing as it is, isn't the scariest part. It's that it seems like he can get anything he wants against the Hawks that is scary. Garnett got in good position a lot in the post against anyone who was guarding him (whether it be Smith, Williams, Dampier or Horford), and even when the Hawks defended and contested him well, he still made shots. I was surprised that the Celtics didn't go to him more. He only had 12 shot attempts the entire game, and he made 7 of them.
  • If the Hawks play this way in Game 6, the series ends there. I really doubt Al Horford will have this great of a game again in Game 6. I really doubt that "Iso-Joe" will be more effective in Boston tha in Atlanta. I really doubt that the Hawks can survive Joe Johnson and Josh Smith shooting a combined 39% from the field. This Game 5 win was big, but the Hawks will have to play bigger and better if they want to snatch a win in Boston in Game 6.

Quick Notable Notes:

  • Jeff Teague played great, and will need to continue to be aggressive for the rest of the series if Hawks have any shot on advancing. He played solid defense on Rondo and was fairly aggressive for most of the game. He finished with 16 points in 11 shots while dishing out 5 assists in 43 minutes.
  • Joe Johnson wanted more touches, and he got it. Had 17 shot attempts but only made 6 of them. The "Iso-Joe" offense late in crunch time really hurts him (and his team).
  • From Elias Sports Bureau, Josh Smith's 14.8 rebounds per game in this series leads all players in any of the 16 teams in this year's playoffs. Josh Smith has grabbed at least 12 rebounds in all four games he's played in this series. Shaquille O'neal and Pau Gasol are the only two players that has done that four times in one series when facing Kevin Garnett.
  • Jannero Pargo and Jason Collins were a DNP-CD in this game. Coach Larry Drew only went 9 deep (8 deep really) in this game.
  • Ivan Johnson is now the new Mario West, as his only time on the court was in the closing seconds of a quarter to play defense. He played a total of 10 seconds in this game.

Next Game: With the Hawks still down 3-2 in this series, their backs are still against the wall. They will head to Boston for Game 6. The Hawks are 0-2 in Boston this series and their last game there was an embarrassing blowout. We'll see if the Hawks can have a better showing in Game 6 than they had in Game 4.