Celtics Upset In Atlanta: Smith, Johnson Power Hawks Back Into Series

Sean Crowe@CroweKnowsSenior Writer IApril 26, 2008

The Celtics went down to Atlanta a confident team up 2-0 in their best of seven series against the Hawks.  The Hawks limped home beaten, bruised, and counted out.

Forty eight minutes later, the Hawks are right back in the series.

For forty eight minutes in Atlanta, it was the Celtics that didn’t have any answers.  It was the Hawks that had answers for every question the Celtics threw at them.

For forty eight minutes in Atlanta, it was the Hawks draining open shots from three point land and the Celtics missing their defensive assignments. 

For forty eight minutes in Atlanta, the Hawks were the better team.  

And when the game was over, they celebrated their nine point victory as if it just won them a national championship.  Unfortunately for Al Horford and company, this isn't college anymore and they still need to win three more of these.

Based on their post-game celebration, I’m not sure the Hawks were aware of that...

You have to give credit where credit is due, when Josh Smith gets going he’s an absolutely dynamic offensive player.  Smith and Johnson were able to abuse the Celtics defense all night as they were able to look more like the team that averaged over 100 points a game in the second half of the season than the team that showed up for the first two games in Boston.

The Celtics just weren’t up for the game.  Paul Pierce looked sluggish enough that you have to question if the back injury he suffered in game two was bothering him. 

Garnett was his normal self, but the rest of the Celtics’ bigs were abused on the boards both offensively and defensively.  They seemed uninterested at times in fighting for rebounds. 

The Celtics were beaten in every facet of the game for only the second or third time this season.  Give the Hawks credit, they were able to make some tremendous adjustments—adjustments I didn’t think they had it in them to make.

The officiating was absolutely abysmal and an embarrassment to the NBA.  Violet Palmer is to NBA Officials as Rex Grossman is to NFL quarterbacks. 

There were two incorrectly called twenty four second violations, one was eventually overturned.  When the shot-clocks died, they switched to the PA announcer, who apparently never learned how to count seconds and couldn’t keep up with time.

Bibby was fending off Rondo with his left hand all night, yet Rondo was the one called for an offensive foul after (during the play) the cameras caught Bibby pleading to the official. 

It didn’t impact the game, luckily, but if the game were closer the officiating could have affected the outcome. 

It was miserable and made the game hard to watch, like almost every game Violet calls.

I’m sure she’s a great person, but she’s set female NBA officials way, way back.  She’s awful.  Horrible.  Terrible.  I’m going to go back to one of my Eli Manning columns to find a few more adjectives I can use.

Here’s a good one: Abysmal.

How she gets to officiate an NBA playoff game is completely beyond me.  Is it affirmative action?  She’s the only female official so she gets a playoff game by default? 

You can’t tell me it’s performance merited.

Or maybe they just let everyone have a playoff game or two?

Point is, she’s terrible.  If that’s the last time I ever see a Violet Palmer officiated game, I’ll be better off for it.

Anyway, I’m getting way off track.

I will be shocked if the Celtics don’t bounce back in a big way on Monday.  They just learned the hard way that playoff basketball, especially on the road, can’t be taken lightly.

No matter who you’re playing.

Oh yeah, and one more thing.   Memo to Doc Rivers: The team is better when Eddie House is the backup point guard. 

Sam “I am” is getting WAY too many minutes.  He should be restricted to garbage time only.  He looks for his shot WAY too much, he can’t play defense, the offense dies when he’s out there, and (most importantly) Eddie House is a better player.

Please take this into consideration the next time you want to play Rondo for only 15 minutes in the first half of a playoff game.

I’m SeanMC.


SeanMC is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.