Monday, April 28, 2008

Celtics-Hawks -- Game 4 thread

Johnson (20 points) and Smith (12) combine for all of Atlanta's fourth-quarter points. Again, the Celtics can't match up with either player. And yet, Rivers kept Allen on Johnson and allowed isolations until it was too late.

Smith at the line: make, make. Hawks, 97-92. Final. Series tied, 2-2.

Posey buries another 3. Celtics within 3, 95-92. 4.3 seconds.

Johnson at the line: make, make. Hawks, 95-89.

Allen drives, dunks. Celtics within 4, 93-89. 18.7 seconds.

Pierce loses control of the ball, misses a layup. Smith, fouled on the rebound, now at the line: make, make. Hawks, 93-87, 26.2 seconds.

Johnson at the line: make, miss. Hawks, 91-87. 37 seconds.

Pierce and Garnett double Johnson again, who draws a foul on Pierce.

Pierce now on Johnson, who is doubled by Garnett. Childress pulls down an offense rebound on a 3-point miss by Smith.

Posey buries a long 3-pointer. Celtics within 3, 90-87.

Another Johnson vs. Allen isolation. Two more for Joe. Hawks, 90-84.

Garnett in the lane. Hawks, 88-84.

Johnson drives through the Celtics again. Hawks, 88-82, 2:15 left. Boston has allowed Johnson to break down Allen on isolations four consecutive possessions. The drives start from beyond the 3-point line, and help doesn't show until Johnson already has a head of steam. I'm surprised Rivers hasn't switched up this defense. Johnson has 15 in the quarter, 30 in the game.

Garnett rolls one home. Hawks, 86-82.

Smith just blocked Garnett, 1-on-1! Seven blocks for Smith.

Johnson drives for 2. Hawks, 86-80.

Johnson for 3. Hawks, 84-79, 4:33 left. The fourth-quarter-opening run is now 19-4 with Johnson (11) and Smith (8) combining for all 19 of the points.

Smith again from the outside. Hawks, 81-79.

Johnson ties it with a free throw. 79-all.

Boston's biggest weakness, a lack of athleticism, again is showing. Quite simply, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are the two best athletes on the floor, and they both play for the Hawks. These are nearly impossible isolation covers for the Celtics.

Trying to tie the series at two games apiece, the Hawks are making a run to open the fourth. The spurt is 13-4 right now. Celtics' lead down to 1, 79-78. 5:52 left.