Hawks-Celtics: Atlanta Stuns Boston To Force Game Seven

Danny PaskasSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2008

The Atlanta Hawks, the playoff team with the worst record, 37-45, have just beaten the 66 win, 1st seeded Boston Celtics to force game 7.

Nobody, and I mean nobody gave any thought of this series going 7, in fact, most experts and fans alike predicted a sweep, or were generous in saying the Hawks might have a chance to steal one game in Atlanta with the raucous crowd in Phillips Arena.

After Boston won the first two games in convincing fashion, game 1 by 23, game 2 by 19, it looked as if everything was going according to plan ending the series shortly to get plenty of rest to continue their championship run.

Between game 2 and 3, I remember watching PTI when Wilbon said something along the lines of the great Celtics should not even have to travel to Atlanta, proclaiming the series over.

Something funny happened when the two teams got to Atlanta.  With the score even at halftime the Hawks took over in the third quarter outscoring the Celts 28-18, while holding them to 5 of 21 shooting.

Behind the high-flying act of Josh Smith, who scored a game high 27, Atlanta cruised to victory behind an excited crowd who saw their first playoff win since 1999.

“We're not satisfied," said Joe Johnson, who put up 23 points for Atlanta. "We have another one to get. We know it's going to be very electric Monday, and we're looking forward to it."

Maybe the young Hawks just do not know any better, they don’t really think they stand a chance.  Do they?

Then came game 4, where the “not satisfied ,” Joe Johnson absolutely took over the fourth quarter scoring 20 of his game high 35 with drives to the basket and hitting clutch shot after clutch shot.

"We've got to find ourselves real quick," Boston's Sam Cassell said. "We've got to find our team identity, our team chemistry, we've got to find all that real quick."

Back in Boston, the Celtics did find themselves quickly behind strong performances from their Big Three, 22 from Pierce, 20 from Garnett, and 19 from Allen, they cruised to victory winning by 25.

After dominating the Hawks in game 5, it seemed like it was time to give a congratulations to Atlanta for fighting so hard and pushing the series to six games which to most seemed like a hell of an accomplishment.


“We still haven't won a road game, guys," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We have to do it again. We have to do it on the road now. We have to go in there and play like tonight."

And so came tonight’s game six in Atlanta.

Behind the sellout crowd chanting Seven almost all night, Atlanta hung around the whole game before taking a lead near the end of the fourth quarter, their first since 2-0.

Paul Pierce fouled out during a critical fourth quarter stretch after scoring 17.

Couple the above with solid games from Marvin Williams, who led with 18, Horford’s 16, Childress 15 off the bench, and Joe Johnson’s clutch three-pointer to give the Hawks a 100-95 lead very late, and we all get to see an improbable game seven.

Granted there really is no shot Atlanta beats Boston at home but anything can happen, right?

All I know is the Hawks are a dangerous team, and the future looks very bright for the first time in years for Atlanta.

In the words of Zaza, “”We’ re going to Game 7!  Woooooo!”