Thursday, December 18, 2008
Even Ludacris can't save you Atlanta
For a game in December, the Atlanta Hawks and their fraud fans showed up in full force last night at the Philips Arena. Native son Ludacris even performed at halftime of this circus like atmosphere.
However, it will take more than that to stop the machine that is the Boston Celtics these days though as the C's (24-2) won 88-85. Boston has now won 16 consecutive games, including 10 straight on the road.
As we learned in the playoffs last spring and in the teams' first meeting in November, the Hawks (15-10) match up with the Celtics better than any other team in the league. That's not a misprint Lakers, Cavs, Pistons, Hornets or Spurs. Atlanta's combination of athletic youngsters (Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Al Horford) with some great shooters (Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby) means that games between these two teams are almost always tight.
The Celts starting five once again was superb. Paul Pierce (7 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (8 rebounds) each had 18 points while Ray Allen added 16. Rajon Rondo went for 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Kendrick Perkins had eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
For the Hawks, Johnson led the way with a game-high 20 points. Williams had 16 points and eight rebounds while Smith and Bibby both notched 14 points.
The outcome wasn't decided until the final possessions as each team had clutch hoops and free throws. Boston went up one late with a KG hook shot. Johnson was fouled and had a chance to tie it (and likely send the game to OT) but he missed the second free throw.
Ray Allen hit two free throws to put Boston up three and Bibby missed a prayer 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Celts shot 44.2% to the Hawks' 36.7%. That was the only number that was much different.
Boston comes home to play the Bulls tomorrow night with the chance to tie the second best win-streak in franchise history.