DAN SHAUGHNESSYConveniently forgetting about the shots Smart hit before that foul, but that's Our Danny Boy!
There are reasons for hope after this loss
ATLANTA — A lot of things happened in the first game of our 2016 playoff spring.
We saw the Celtics fall behind the Hawks by 19 points in the first half. We saw the Green take a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter. We saw Isaiah Thomas (27 points) work his magic and Brad Stevens’s first technical in two years. We saw Avery Bradley limp to the locker room with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. We saw the Celtics blow some golden opportunities down the stretch. We saw a dumb foul by a guy named Smart with the Celtics down 3 with 36 seconds left in the game. Finally, we saw Atlanta beat Boston, 102-101, in the first game of their seven-game series.
“We lost a brother, that hurts us,’’ said Marcus Smart, who had a breakout game (15 points, three treys), before his questionable intentional foul in the final minute.So Smart had a good game, until that point late in the game when he fouled somebody and allowed Shank a chance to point the finger at him for the loss. Typical Shank...
Saturday’s dramatic comeback against the Hawks would have been much better. The Celtics demonstrated they can play with Atlanta — something we really didn’t see when the Green were swept by the Cavaliers last spring.Um, two different teams, no?
These Celtics finished the 2015-16 regular season on a downer, losing two straight, then falling behind Miami by 26 points in the finale.Didn't they win that game, Shank? How's that a downer if they won the last game?
The Celtics amazing comeback turned out to be the worst thing that could have happened: it matched them up with the Hawks (instead of the Heat) in the first round and you don’t need de facto commissioner Bob Ryan to tell you the Hawks are a “bad matchup” for the Celtics.But Shank needed to quote Ryan, because he doesn't see it himself.
The Hawks look like a 2.0 version of your Boston Celtics. They are starless and selfless and they play good defense and they pass the ball nicely. Atlanta’s big people are better than Boston’s big people. The Hawks do not present as a team that will be surprised by the hungry, hustling Celtics. Then again, as the old saying goes, a playoff series has not really begun until the road team wins a game.Nothing like leaning on those old clichés to describe a playoff matchup, is there?
From this point on, we get more hoary sports clichés and the standard game recap, with this trenchant closing observation:
One game in an NBA series is not a big deal and on Saturday the Celtics showed us that they can win this series.Although Shank tried his best to make this game a big deal, naturally for the worse.