It took a couple of hours, but Rajon Rondo finally found his groove in the fourth quarter of Boston’s overtime 90-84 mercy win over ailing Atlanta. With the Hawks down to throwing anyone they could find into the game outside of the security guys along the bench, this was very nearly a must-win for the Celtics. Losing to this pickup squad from Atlanta wouldn’t fly. The Hawks had more talent on their bench in street clothes than they did on the court. They had to start Jason Collins, who proceeded to somehow score one-on-one against Kevin Garnett, and yet still is so bad offensively that he makes Greg Ostertag look like a once-upon-a-time low post beast. Then they came with Erick Dampier off the bench when Collins got into foul trouble. Dampier couldn’t even run, and at one point Paul Pierce stopped in front of the big center. Dampier ran right into him, didn’t even bother to try to slow down. You know it’s bad when Zaza Pachulia is watching from the bench, and Atlanta fans are all like “Damn, I CAN’T WAIT ’til Zaza gets back!” Outside of some money plays from Jeff Teague (23 points) in the second half, it was Joe Johnson (29 points) who kept Atlanta alive. Down five in the closing moments of regulation, Johnson scored five straight to cap a 15-4 run and force overtime. Then in the extra period, Kevin Garnett (20 points, 13 rebounds) came through with a couple of huge buckets. Yet none of it would’ve mattered had Rondo not taken over in the fourth. His aggression picked up, he started pushing the ball and lit the crowd on fire by finding Paul Pierce for a game-changing triple. Before long, Rondo had easily secured another triple-double (17 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists) just as the Hawks’ offense slowly started to unravel … You want to know why everyone refers to Paul Pierce as a “professional scorer?” Just take a look at his box score from last night (three made shots, 14 made freebies) … Most playoff triple-doubles of all-time read like this: Magic – 30, Kidd – 11, Bird – 11, Wilt – nine, Oscar – eight, LeBron – seven, Rondo – seven. Not a bad list to find yourself on … Jeff Van Gundy was gushing over Tracy McGrady in the second quarter, and you know what was crazy about it? T-Mac was actually backing it up. He had a baseline spin and dunk, a fast-break layup and even a pull-up jumper that wasn’t a dead line drive at the front of the rim. By the end of the half, he had put in 10 points and several moves that had us checking the calendar to make sure this was really 2012 … This is where someone idiotically says if T-Mac never got hurt, he would’ve been better than Kobe and LeBron. The kid was a monster, but let’s calm down. He was arguably the best player in the world for about two years, and the majority of the rest of his injury-free career, he was only top 10 … Keep reading to hear how bad the Lakers sucked …
Smack / May 5, 2012 / 1:19 am
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