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Saturday, April 2, 2011

You know it's bad when Zaza Pachulia is unstoppable

Last night in Atlanta, it was a battle of who cared less (apologies to Ben Folds): the Boston Celtics or the Atlanta Hawks.

Neither team was into it (as evidenced by the numerous easy baskets and layups) but the Hawks (44-32) eventually made enough plays to come away with a depressing 88-83 win over the Celtics (52-23) at the Philips Arena.

I say depressing because the main reason that Atlanta was victorious had to do with the energy provided by goofball big man Zaza Pachulia. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench. Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 20 points off the bench but that's at least forgivable since he's a good NBA player. There is absolutely no reason that Zaza should be dropping double-doubles in your eyeball.

Paul Pierce led Boston with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds but he couldn't do it alone in the second night of the back-to-back road games. Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 10 assists and five rebounds while Ray Allen (11 points), Kevin Garnett (10 points) and Delonte West (10 points, 5 assists off the bench) all barely reached double figures.

The terrible pro sports fans in Atlanta were treated to a real snoozefest in the first half as the Hawks led 23-21 after the first quarter but the Celtics woke up for a 52-44 advantage.

The third quarter was another dud (18-16 Atlanta) and then the Hawks started looking like a playoff team in the fourth quarter (26-15 Hawks) while the Celtics were content to take hopeless 3-pointers and long jumpers.

Boston shot 44.6% to 36.7% for Atlanta. The Celtics made two more 3-pointers (6-4) but Atlanta lived at the free throw line (26-11 free throws made). Atlanta had 14 more rebounds (52-38) but Boston had eight more assists (22-14), four more blocks (5-1) and three more steals (5-2).

With the loss, the Cs fell half a game behind the Miami Heat (with a game in hand for Boston) into the third spot in the Eastern Conference. Only seven more games left, Boston hosts the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night at TD Garden.

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