The Celtics appeared to have the game well in hand, leading by as much as 18 points in the first half. They played together and looked really good. Then they came out completely flat in the second half. The Hawks went to a zone defense in the second half and it completely took us out of our game. And it gets worse. Al went down hard in the second quarter and was slow to get up and limped off the court. He came back and they said it was just a light knee bruise. Then, in the third quarter, he came down on someone's foot and sprained his ankle and didn't return to the game. Hopefully it is a minor sprain and won't lead to more problems like he had last season. Perk played an inspired game but told Doc in the third quarter that his foot was hurting pretty bad.
Perk was the player of the game in my opinion and finished the game with 15 points on 6-9 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. He was moving better than he has since he went down with the plantar fasciitis and looked like the Perk of old, but he did tell Doc his foot was hurting in the 3rd period. Al shot 4-9 and finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in spite of going out with a sprained ankle. Other than Al, Powe and Perk, the shooting was terrible.
West scored 18 points but shot only 4-16 and finished with 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal. Green shot 4-16 and 3-9 from beyond the arc but had 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Gomes shot 1-11 and seemed to be off all game. He did get 7 rebounds and 2 assists to go with his 4 points.
Rondo was 1-4 and finished with 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Telfair played 11 minutes and was 2-4 from the field for 5 points. Allen Ray was 0-9 from the field and finished with only 1 point. Another bright spot as always was the play of Leon Powe, who won the Tommy Award (although I think Perk deserved it more). But Powe played only 10 minutes and played some great defense in the paint finishing with 4 points on 2-3 shooting to go with 5 rebounds (3 offensive) and 1 block. This guy just plays hard and makes the most of every minute on the court.
We played like a team in the first half and were getting the ball inside to Perk and Al and we built a big lead. Then the wheels came off and it seemed like we couldn't do anything. Whether it was the zone defense that the Hawks threw at us or the fact that we just stopped playing together or the fact that we went cold from the field, it was like we were a completely different team in the second half. This was probably the most disappointing loss yet as we didn't play well in the second half. It is easier to accept a loss when the team plays hard but when they don't play well in a game they should have won, that is disappointing.
After practicing on Tuesday and hoping to return against the Hawks, Wally was unable to play tonight. Dickerson said that he may have reinjured the ankle in practice as there was pain and swelling once again today in the ankle. Hopefully Al's ankle won't be serious and he will be able to play on Friday against the Raptors.