Friday, May 2, 2008

Celtics-Hawks -- Game 6 thread

Hawks win, 103-100. Game 7 coming Sunday, which, of course, the Celtics will be favored to win, just as they have every game this series. But right now it's hard to imagine them winning a title with the Hawks so easily exposing so many weaknesses.

Rondo just delivered one of the worst end-game possessions in postseason history. Celtics need a 3 ... Rondo dribbles up the court, briefly looks around, never gets into a shot at the 3-point line, then airballs a long, long 3 from 29 feet. How do you not inbound to Allen? How does Rondo not get it to Allen?

Bibby at the line: miss, make. Hawks, 103-100.

Garnett a quick two. Celtics within 2, 102-100. 8.7 seconds.

Johnson at the line: make, make. Hawks, 102-98. 10.6 seconds left.

Allen's 3 for the lead misses. Strange strategy for the Celtics down the stretch. Why would the better team not want to play more basketball, even with one of its best players out? Why didn't Garnett command the ball and dominate, regardless of defense?

Johnson misses a tough runner.

Posey a long a 3-pointer. Celtics within 3, 100-98.

Johnson a huge 3, contested by Posey and against the shot clock. Hawks, 100-95. 1:06 left.

Allen misses three shots on a single possession. Perkins grabs another offensive board. Perkins at the line: make, make. Celtics within 2, 97-95.

Allen misses a contested 3. Bibby misses over Allen.

Allen fouls Bibby. Hawks attacking with Allen's man every trip. Bibby at the line: miss, make. Hawks, 97-93.

Since this game is running long, the Jazz-Rockets game will start on ESPN Classic. Kudos for ESPN for getting it.

Hawks' work isn't done. They have to stay aggressive.

Allen scores on a fastbreak drive. Celtics back within 3, 96-93. 2:46 left.

Childress all over the offensive glass.

Garnett finally ends the drought. Celtics down 5, 96-91.

Rondo misses everything on a drive, but at least he's eager to shoot. Where is Garnett? Where is Allen?

Another turnover by Garnett. Horford just outworked three Celtics for an offensive rebound. Pierce just picked up his sixth foul; he's gone. Pierce throws his headband -- technical foul. Childress scores, Johnson hits the technical free throw. Hawks, 96-89.

Hawks are active on defense now. The Celtics are rattled. Garnett doesn't want to shoot. Allen just hit the side of the backboard. And Rondo? These fake behind-the-back passes have to go.

Johnson, 1-on-1 with Allen, blows by, fouled. Johnson makes two at the line. Hawks, 93-89.

Horford makes two at the line. Hawks, 90-89.

Posey for 3. Celtics, 89-86.

Horford and 1. Hawks, 86-84.

Pierce answers from the perimeter. Celtics, 84-83.

Williams snatches Bibby's miss and puts it in. Hawks lead, 83-82.

Marvin Williams a nice drive off a scramble. Hawks within 1, 82-81.

By all key measures, the Celtics were the NBA's top defensive team during the regular season. That's not the team we're seeing in this series. Hawks are shooting 52 percent from the field tonight and are 25-for-32 at the line -- already.

Childress with a tipin at the buzzer. Hawks within 3, 82-79. One quarter left.

Childress dunks on the break. Hawks within 4, 79-75. 34.8 seconds left in the third.

Allen curls and hits a short jumper. Celtics, up 79-72, are playing solid offensive basketball.

Horford dunks. Hawks hanging around, within 5.

Celtics trap Johnson at midcourt. He hits Bibby, who knocks down a jumper.

Smith picks up his fourth foul, goes to the bench. More than seven minutes left in the third.

Celtics are trapping Johnson on every catch. They aren't going to let him beat them tonight.

Garnett a huge block on Smith.

Smith a huge block on Garnett.

Celtics open the third on a 9-2 run. They're controlling play and preventing the Hawks from running.

ABC/ESPN's No. 1 crew, Breen/Jackson/Van Gundy, are working this game. Pre-series odds of these three being in Boston or Atlanta for the first round: 1,000-1.

Celtics lead a close one at the half, 50-49. Joe Johnson has just two points on 1-for-7 shooting, but the Hawks are alive.