Sunday, September 2, 2012

Josh Smith's Hawks Swoop Past Celtics (81-83)

J-Smoove made the crowd holler in the ATL as he led the Hawks over the visiting Celtics, who were still suffering the aftershock of misadventure in South Beach.

Rajon Rondo could've silenced the anxious flock of sparrows in the arena with a potential game winning 3 pointer that resulted from poor play by Boston in the final two minutes, despite controlling the tempo and scoreboard for the majority of the contest.

A comeback by Atlanta seemed unlikely as Boston repeatedly secured their lead whenever a floor-shaking dunk by Smith or Al Horford would bounce off the walls, but boneheaded execution by Boston blew a 3 point lead in the last 45 seconds. Soon enough, Atlanta fired a reckless two-pointer to beat the 24 second shot clock, but it somehow rattled in, plucking the difference down to a single point.

Even then, there should have been nothing to worry about for Boston, who stole the next possession and nearly delivered a wide open pass into Josh Howard before the Hawks fretfully fouled Paul Millsap (17 points) outside of the penalty, which meant no resulting free throws for Boston. They should have held the ball after the next inbound, but instead tried to feed Terry a reasonable shot, only for Rondo's wild pass to fling wide, surrendering the ball back into ATL's eager wings.

Even then, ATL had trouble executing a smart play, but Boston made a second charitable gesture, fouling Devin Harris, who nailed 2 free throws to give the ecstatic home team a 1 point lead. A timeout by Boston would seem to indicate clarity on the "final" possession with 20 seconds left in regulation, but Boston's mindless doom awaited as an awkwardly conceived shot by Kevin Garnett clanged in and out of the basket.

Instantly, the panic had transferred from ATL to Boston, who frantically fouled after the Hawks snatched the rebound, indirectly making matters worse for themselves seeing as ATL missed the second of their free throws, trimming even more time off the clock, leaving Rondo with only 1.4 seconds to hoist up the would-be crowd stunner.

Hopefully, the chill of Toronto with thaw Boston's brain.

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