Hawks vs. Celtics: Game 4 Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Analysis
It was a bona fide butt-whooping from start to finish, as the Celtics jumped out to a 13-point, first-quarter lead and never looked back. They were on fire all day long, hitting 51.2 percent from the field and 42.3 percent on three-pointers.
Despite tweaking his knee in the second quarter, Paul Pierce let loose with a dominant performance. He hit 10 of 13 shots, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc. He also finished with an insane plus/minus of plus-33, adding another legendary playoff game to his resume.
Tweets of the Night
With Rajon Rondo performing surgery on the Hawks defense, ESPN analyst and former NBA baller Jalen Rose made a great point about how teams defend the elite PG:
Rondo controls the 1st half w/13 assts. C's shot 63%. Big mistake not to PRESSURE non-shooting PG's. They can still pin point passes. #NBA— JALEN ROSE (@jalenrose) May 7, 2012
As Paul Pierce buried every shot he took, Boston sports radio hosts Toucher and Rich thought he may have had some performance enhancers:
Paul Pierce on cheat mode.— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) May 7, 2012
After Rajon Rondo's sick fake-behind-the-back move in the third quarter, Not Bill Walton provided a tale that I would believe came from the Celtics legend himself:
Rajon Rondo just made a dynamic move that I once dreamed about while hiking the Zion Narrows of Utah with a mysterious swami named Zeb.— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 7, 2012
It wasn't all bad for the Hawks, though, as big man Al Horford returned after missing the vast majority of the season. John Hollinger of ESPN summed up everyone's feelings, although he may have added a sarcastic touch thanks to Horford's elbow to the nose of Greg Stiemsma:
Great to see Horford back doing Horford things...— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) May 7, 2012
In the end, the Celtics' merciless performance spoiled Horford's return. The fine people at InsideHoops think the Hawks may be able to file a police report:
— InsideHoops.com (@InsideHoops) May 7, 2012
Rajon Rondo gets the highlight of the night after this filthy fake-behind-the-back pass to layup move.
Grades for Key Celtics Players
Rajon Rondo: A+
Rondo played a nearly flawless game, putting up 20 points, 16 assists and just one turnover. He shot 73 percent from the field and even splashed a couple uncharacteristic three-balls.
Rondo controlled the tempo the entire game and picked apart the Hawks defense with ease. When he plays like this, the Celtics can beat any team in the league.
Paul Pierce: A
It was the classic game from Paul Pierce, as he drained plenty of big shots, threw some salt in Atlanta's wounds by running into the crowd and even suffered an "injury" that turned out to be nothing.
Overall, it was a vintage game from Pierce and yet another reminder that he's a surefire Hall of Famer. Not that we needed one.
Grades for Key Hawks Players
Joe Johnson: D
With the fate of the series at stake, Johnson picked a bad time to enter the witness protection program.
Despite being the best scorer on his team, Johnson took just eight shots on the night. He didn't contribute in any other major way, either, mustering just three assists and one rebound on the day.
Obviously, some credit for his struggles should go to the Celtics, but when you're being paid like a superstar, you can't vanish when your team needs you most.
Josh Smith: B-
Smith was the only Hawk who didn't shrink on the big stage. He stayed active throughout, relentlessly attacking the glass, even when it was clear they weren't mounting a comeback.
He finished the game with 15 points, 13 boards and five assists. If the rest of his teammates played as hard as he did, the final result would have been much different.
Will the Celtics win the series in Game 5?
Game MVP: Rajon Rondo
It's hard not to give this award to Pierce, but Rondo was once again the catalyst for Boston's success. He set up his teammates for easy buckets, knocked down his jumpers when the defense sagged and even provided that nasty move above.
Overall, it was a magnificent game from Rondo. If he continues to play this well, the Celtics will be very scary in the later rounds.
With the Celtics seizing a 3-1 series lead, the Hawks will attempt to stave off elimination Tuesday at home. The game starts at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised live on TNT.
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