The Celtics managed to hold off the Atlanta Hawks, rejuvenated by the return of Al Horford, who really put his team on his back. The Celtics, however, collectively climbed on the back of The Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett who was the absolute star of the game. His stat line was absurd: 28 points on 53% shooting FG, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 blocks, and a single foul. He was dominant in the game, and played 39 minutes. Rondo, Pierce, Bradley and Allen all contributed, but I was extremely impressed by Ryan Hollins 18 minute contributions. This guy was not on the team 6 weeks ago!
Although I am not confident that the Celtics would have won in 6 had Horford been 100% for all 3 games, they move on to face the Philadelphia 76ers. They were greater than +1000 to knock off the number 1 seed Chicago Bulls, but they accomplished it, with some help from a Derrick Rose injury. This is a favorable matchup for the Celtics, who really dominated the Sixers in the second half of the season. I think it will be important for Rondo and the rest of the team to be involved, as Kevin Garnett can not will the team to the Finals. Celtics need to continue attacking the basket, instead of settling for jump shots. Need to stop Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala from scoring, and keep up the strong defense.
Game 1: Saturday @ 8PM in Boston
Classic Kevin Garnett post game interview below: