Notes on Hawks-Celtics Game 2
So, that was all you had, Mike Bibby? Two days of schoolyard taunts and a back-and-forth with Kendrick Perkins and you get taken apart for the second straight game by Rajon Rondo?
So much for that. The Celtics have a 2-0 lead, they’ve won both games by double-digits, their young point guard is destroying his veteran opponent, and here’s the kicker—they’re not even playing that well yet.
After the jump, five things you need to know from last night at the Garden.
1. Seriously. Where is Bibby?
That was the best chant from the Garden faithful last night. “Bibby Sucks” was kind of derivative and “Rondo’s Better” is stating the obvious, but Atlanta coach Mike Woodson kept Bibby on the bench for a large chunk of the third quarter, electing to go with rookie Acie Law instead. The same Acie Law that Woodson had buried for the last two months of the season. Clearly these are the desperate acts of a Dead Coach Walking.
Here’s what you need to know through two games:
Rondo: 27 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists, 1 turnover
Bibby: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers
2. Ray Allen: Defensive stopper
The easy definition of Allen is as follows: Great shooter, terrific scorer, lousy defender. It’s an unfair rap, of course, as anyone who has watched him play this year can attest. Paul Pierce said something interesting the other day: “When I played on poor defensive teams, I would get singled out as a poor defender.” The same holds true for Allen.
While Allen will never be confused with Bruce Bowen (thankfully), he has shown that he can play defense within a team concept, which is exactly how the Celtics play. In this series, Allen has helped make Joe Johnson into a perimeter shooter, and thus a non-factor.
3. The best is yet to come (it better)
Let’s be honest, Atlanta has no business being in the playoffs. The Celtics should be blowing them out every night, but a few disturbing tendencies have popped up offensively. First, Pierce, at times, fell back into the 1-on-3 mode that was his norm the last few years. Second, Kevin Garnett‘s shot has been off, and he is not finishing around the rim. Third, Sam Cassell is still not running the second unit very efficiently. It goes without saying that the C’s need to clean up the offensive end in time for the next round.
4. Big Baby is better than anyone on Atlanta’s bench*
*Except for Josh Childress, who is the only quality player on Atlanta’s bench.
No one but Baby can pack four points, two boards, an assist, three steals, and six fouls into 14 minutes. Not bad for a hand model.
5. KG had his first playoff moment
There will certainly be more, but midway through the fourth quarter, with the Celtics trying to deliver the knockout blow, Garnett called for the ball. Callow Josh Smith attempted something like a hard message foul, but as KG walked to the line and the crowd chanted “MVP!” Garnett pulled back his jersey to reveal what? A scratch? Nothing?
He then began pounding his chest and screamed something that began with “Motherf—er” and had a few other choice words thrown in for effect. The crowd went crazy, KG knocked down his free throws, and on the next possession, he popped out for a 3-pointer. Knockout delivered.
The man has charisma.