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Homer D. Sayson
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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


 

NBA PLAYOFFS -- Rondo's triple-double shoots down Hawks

By Homer D. Sayson
PhilBoxing.com
06 May 2012



FLIRTING with disaster, the Boston Celtics squandered an 11-point fourth quarter lead before luckily hanging on to beat an undermanned but upset-minded Atlanta Hawks, 90-84 in overtime, Friday night at the TD Garden in Boston.

Game 3 of this Round 1 showdown appeared safely in Boston's hands when a Rajon Rondo lay-up with 4:02 left in regulation pushed the Celtics ahead, 80-72. But the men in green went on a drought and the Hawks pounced with an 8-0 run that knotted the count to force the extra session.

In overtime, though, the Hawks ran out of gas, They shot just 2-of-11 field goals as Boston escaped with the win. The Celtics now lead this best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled Sunday afternoon also at the TD Garden.

"It wasn't pretty, but who says it has to be pretty. At the end of the day we have to win four games and tonight we found a way," said Celtics guard Paul Pierce, who finished with 21 points on a miserable shooting night where he made just three of 12 field goals.

Boston didn't have it's A-game on hand. They shot 40 percent from the field (32-of-79), 30.8 percent above the 3-point arc (4-of-13) and they threw the ball away 13 times.

But Rondo kept the Celtics afloat with the 20th triple-double of his career. Suspended for Game 2 for bumping a referee following a call dispute in Game 1, Rondo returned with a flourish -- 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.

Ray Allen returned from foot and ankle injuries and promptly drilled 13 points while Kevin Garnett had 13 rebounds and 20 points, including a put-back slam off a Rondo miss that gave the Celtics an 88-84 cushion in the final 28.1 seconds of overtime.

The Hawks played without big men Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia and Josh Smith and they couldn't find any traction on offense, shooting 37.8 percent from the field (34-of-90) and 20 percent from 3point range (4-of-20).

"We've been a team that has had adversity throughout the season like everybody else and it says a lot about your team when they can step up in the playoffs shorthanded and still put themselves in a position to win. We certainly had our opportunities. We just fell short," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said.

Joe Johnson paced Atlanta with 29 points and 8 rebounds while Jeff Teague added 23 points and 6 assists. Tracy McGrady chipped in 12 off the bench. (Homer D. Sayson)


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