Rajon Rondo was the story of the second half of the Celtics’ season, and he didn’t disappoint in his first playoff game.
Rondo finished with fifteen points, nine assists, six rebounds, five or six highlight-reel plays, and most importantly, zero turnovers.
The Hawks were completely overmatched and didn’t look like they belonged on the same floor as the heavily favored Boston Celtics, save for a short stretch against the Celtics’ bench in the second quarter.
The Hawks, who came into the game averaging 103 points-per-game in the second half of the season, managed only 81 points off of 38% shooting against a stingy Celtic defense.
Doc Rivers’ liberal use of the bench has been a worry of mine all season long—not for the regular season, but whether he’d continue in the post-season.
In game one, he basically went eight men deep, with Sam Cassell, James Posey, and Leon Powe getting the bulk of the minutes off the bench, which is perfect for the playoffs.
P.J. Brown, Eddie House, Tony Allen, and Glen Davis all saw time late in the fourth quarter when the game was completely out of reach.
The Celtics started hot, with Paul Pierce hitting three quick three pointers in the first quarter. Pierce finished with sixteen points and three assists, only having to play 33 minutes in the blowout.
Ray Allen led all scorers with eighteen points. Garnett finished with sixteen points and ten boards.
“Offensively, we can be better,” Doc Rivers said (with a straight face) during his post game press conference, “We were not happy at half time. We didn’t close out the first quarter and we didn’t close out the second quarter. That allowed them to stay in the game. When you have a chance to put a team away in a game, especially in the playoffs, you need to do it.”
I guess Doc had to find something to complain about. But if the Celtics’ offense can play better, then the Hawks might as well not show up.
Defensively, they can’t stop Garnett and Bibby has no chance against Rondo.
It'll be interesting to see what, if any, adjustments the Hawks can make going into game two on Wednesday night.
Rondo’s most impressive shot was one that didn’t count. After being fouled he took a fall-away from the baseline, throwing the ball over the backboard and into the net.
Much to the crowd’s (and the Celtic bench’s) chagrin, the shot was waived off.
David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox were caught by the cameras sitting court-side.
Former Celtic Joe Johnson scored nineteen points for the Hawks; prior to the game Paul Pierce admitted that the Celtics might have given up on him a little too quickly. No kidding.