Apr. 28: Hawks 97, Celtics 92Posted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports: Forget about a Boston sweep. The Hawks are headed back to Beantown all tied up with the mighty Celtics. Joe Johnson scored 35 points—20 in the fourth quarter—and Josh Smith added 28 points and seven blocks for Atlanta, which surprised the Celtics again 97-92 on Monday night to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece… The credit for this Atlanta stunner goes largely to Johnson, who took control in the final quarter. After Smith’s jumper put the Hawks ahead to stay 81-79, Johnson scored nine straight points to keep the Celtics on the ropes… Josh Smith set an Atlanta playoff record with seven blocks, the last of them a key swat on Garnett after he backed down in the lane, looking for the easy shot, with just over 3 minutes left… The Hawks led 51-48 at halftime, only to put themselves in another hole with a dismal third quarter. Standing around on offense and doing little to create shots, Atlanta was 6-of-17 from the field, missed all seven of its 3-point attempts and turned it over seven times, giving Boston plenty of easy baskets.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Hawks shot 47.8%, the Celtics 41.2%, though Boston took 85 shots while Atlanta only took 67. And the Celtics rocked from outside, nailing 12-of-23 three-pointers, while the Hawks were just 4-of-18. But Atlanta hit 29-of-33 free throws, Boston just 10-of-18, and that was the difference. Rebounds were almost even, and the Celtics dished more assists. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson (14-of-24) had 35 points and 6 assists (but 4 turnovers). Josh Smith (8-of-16, 12-of-13 free throws) had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 7 blocks. Mike Bibby (5-of-8) had 18 points and more turnovers than assists. Al Horford shot badly for 4 points but grabbed 13 rebounds. For the Celtics, Ray Allen (8-of-14) had 21 points and 4 assists. Kevin Garnett needed 21 shots for 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals. Paul Pierce (5-of-14) had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Rajon Rondo needed 16 shots for his 14 points and 12 assists.