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NBA Playoffs 2012: Preview Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

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Whenever I think about the Hawks, I cringe a little bit. Of course now that I've said this, they'll probably make me eat my words. I just don't trust them in crunch time. I certainly can't trust them against a team with a system like the Celtics.

Boston has had an interesting year. They've had their ups and downs this season, and they have stuck to the script, ignored the doubters and emerged from the regular season ready to make some moves in the postseason.

Rajon Rondo desperately wants to lead his team back to the finals. He also is psyched to play with two arms this season. Kevin Garnett looks better than he has in years. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can still do what they've always done.

Then there's Avery Bradley, yet another weapon for the Celtics on both ends of the floor. Add in Doc Rivers, a bench of veterans who know their roles and you've got a dangerous team to try and take apart.

I just don't think the Hawks are up for it. If this series turns into a defensive battle, I trust the Celtics to outlast their opponent and claim victory. They're just too disciplined and recognize what they have to lose.

Even if Al Horford were playing in the first round (he's not), I think I'd still go with the Celtics. Without him, I see Joe Johnson getting frustrated, Rajon Rondo stuffing the stat sheet and Bradley continuing to make a name for himself on the game's biggest stage.

I'm going with Celtics in six. Five if they decide to be serious and want to take care of business from the jump. 

Be sure to sound off and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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