NBA Playoff Predictions 2012: Why Boston Celtics Will Finish the Atlanta Hawks

Soven BerySenior Analyst IMay 10, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MAY 06:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics beats the defense of the Atlanta Hawks for two points in the first quarter in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Somehow, the Atlanta Hawks found a way to win Game 5 in their 2012 NBA Playoffs first round best-of-seven series against the Boston Celtics

That win sends the whole series back to Boston and Beantown has another chance to move on with a victory. 

The Hawks fought off elimination once again and get another chance to make the series interesting on Thursday night.

Rajon Rondo tied the game up with a clutch three-pointer to end the first half. The three ball quickly silenced the home crowd as the Hawks had gone on a 22-12 run to end the second quarter of play. 

In the second half, Atlanta continued their offensive firepower, but slowly fell victim to the demons of scoring woes as they let a 12-point lead slip away at the end of the third quarter.

But Al Horford wouldn’t let the game end in that fashion, as he breathed life into a slowly dying Atlanta squad. He was the difference in that match and the Hawks were able to escape with a 87-86 win. 

However, they won’t escape in Game 6. 

The Celtics have not lost at home throughout this series. They won’t start Thursday. 

Atlanta has beat Boston by an average of five points per game in this matchup. Boston wins have come with an average of 11.7 points per game. 

Stats don’t lie. The Celtics are overpowering Atlanta in every major statistical category expect rebounds where Josh Smith is averaging an electrifying 14.8 boards per game. 

But can Smith carry the Hawks to a Game 6 victory?

Boston has been there and done that. The experienced Big 3 have been in tougher playoff situations than this and have escaped as champions. 

Rondo is averaging a double-double in this series and is burning up like Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial. 

Rondo and company is not only talented, they are also angry. They dropped Game 5 by a single point and now have to play another full game just to move on.

They had a chance to win that game when Rondo intercepted a Horford pass in the waning seconds of the match with a chance to steal not only the ball, but also the victory. Alas, it was not meant to be as the point guard fumbled the win away. That should make him angry. 

That anger should translate to great play on the court and a quick win, but these Hawks will not go down without a fight. 

Horford was back in the starting lineup for Game 5, scoring 19 points with 11 rebounds. He will be a huge boon for Atlanta. 

Smith still has some discomfort in his knee, but should play just fine through the pain. He will be joined on the court by Joe Johnson, hoping for a big game to bring the series back to Atlanta. 

Boston realizes that the window for their aging team is rapidly closing. They won’t let another opportunity get past them. 

It won’t be easy, but the Celtics will get the win in TD Garden in order to rest their squad for a brutal continuation of these playoffs. 

Rondo will spearhead a quick start for Boston in the first quarter, but Atlanta will slowly pick apart the lead heading into halftime.

The Hawks will come out swinging in the third quarter, but Kevin Garnett and company won’t let their opponents run away with a win. They will orchestrate an admirable defensive stand and celebrate a six-point victory with the home crowd.