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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Atlanta: More than just world-famous strip clubs

How many more times do the Atlanta Hawks (24-13) have to beat the Boston Celtics before everyone can just admit that the Hawks own the C's?

While the Celtics take turns hanging out at the local senior centers with their peers, the Hawks have gone 3-0 against them this season, including last night's come-from-behind 102-96 win at the TD Garden.

Former Celtic Joe Johnson silenced the home crowd with a game-high 36 points while Jamal Crawford (17 points off the bench) continues to be one of the best pickups that nobody talks about.

After his best game of the season (a game-high 29 points Sunday in a win vs. the Raptors), Rasheed Wallace joined Boston's (26-10) neverending injury list with a sore foot. Kevin Garnett continues to be out for 10 to 14 days with his mysterious knee injury which is very worrisome if you were paying attention at all last season.

Without Sheed and KG, Brian Scalabrine had to start last night. And yes, I just puked all over my computer monitor when I wrote that. A guy that shouldn't be paid to play basketball started against a damn good team. Yikes.

Rajon Rondo (vote for Rondo!) continued to tear it up as he had 26 points and seven assists while playing 45 minutes. He deserves to make the All-Star game. Paul Pierce added 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Ray Allen scored 16 and Kendrick Perkins notched 11 points and nine rebounds.

Besides the masterful fourth quarter by the Hawks (25-16), the most notable part of the game was the reemergence of Glen Davis. After struggling for the last few weeks to get back his game, Davis looked good last night with 13 points in 28 minutes. He'll be a big factor this season since who knows how healthy KG and Sheed will be from here on out.

Josh Smith and Marvin Williams had 14 points apiece for Atlanta while Al Horford grabbed 12 rebounds.

This was a game Boston had in hand as they led 31-21 after one quarter and 55-46 at the half. The Hawks responded with a 31-25 third quarter which preceded the efficient fourth.

Johnson is one of the countless big names that will be a free agent this summer and it'll be interesting to see if the Celtics can make a run at their former draft pick. He's basically a younger Ray Allen. The problem is some team will probably throw a ridiculous offer at him that he can't pass up.

The C's shot a blistering 55.4% to Atlanta's 45.5%. The Hawks made nine more free throws (23-14), six more offensive rebounds (9-3), five more steals (7-2) and nine less turnovers (16-7). Cue every YMCA league basketball coach you ever had telling you about the importance of hustle and the little things that win games. You get the picture.

Boston travels to the Jersey Shore, not really but I wish, as they take on the Nets tomorrow night. If the Celts lose to the Nets (owners of three wins), then we'll have issues.


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