NBA Playoffs 2012: Celtics Embarrass Hawks in Game 4 to Take a 3-1 Series Lead

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NBA Playoffs 2012: Celtics Embarrass Hawks in Game 4 to Take a 3-1 Series Lead
May 4, 2012: Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce pumps up the team before the start of Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics took control of their first-round Eastern Conference matchup versus the Atlanta Hawks with a blowout victory Sunday night, 101-79, giving the C's a 3-1 series lead.

The Celtics set the tone early in Game 4, leading after the first quarter by a score of 32-19.

They never looked back.

Paul Pierce led all Celtics in scoring, netting 24 points. Kevin Garnett led the way with five rebounds, and Rajon Rondo finished with 20 points and 16 assists to get another double-double and propel the Celtics to a Game 4 victory.

The Hawks seemed to quit after going down big after one quarter. Their intensity was suspect to say the least, especially for a crucial NBA playoff game in which they had an opportunity to even the series at two games apiece and essentially gather the momentum before heading back to Atlanta for Game 5. 

The infamous quote, "go hard or go home" comes to mind here. Since the Hawks didn't "go hard," they find themselves going home to Atlanta for Game 5 down 3-1 rather than tied 2-2.

If they don't man up and play hard in Game 5, they could be going home for the rest of the season.

The Celtics may lose playoff games down the line. At some point, they may even be eliminated in the playoffs. But there is one thing that you can never say, and that is that the Boston Celtics don't have heart, that they don't "go hard."

And it's because each and every one of the Celtics players doesn't want to go home. They play to win, and lately, that is exactly what they have been doing.

Game 5 will be held in Atlanta, Ga. at the Philips Arena on Tuesday, May 8th at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT. Tune in to see if the Hawks continue to play without heart and if the Celtics continue the playoff rampage.

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