The Celtics got off to a fast start and were up 30-22 at the end of 1 but with 7:57 left in the half, the Hawks had battled back to take a 1 point lead. The Celtics then went on a run and were up 55-44 at the half. Doc started the third with the starters on the floor and the Hawks outscored the Celtics 21-8 to start the third quarter with the starters on the floor. They were tied at 74 at the end of 3.
Doc started the 4th with Sam, PJ, Posey, Tony and Baby on the court and stuck with them for the whole quarter, leaving the starters on the bench. The star of the quarter was Sam Cassell as he got hot and was hitting shots from all over the court as the Celtics pulled away. He had a couple of very good veteran moves as he got Smith in the air and leaned in for Smith's 6th foul. Then, he was bringing the ball up with Childress behind him and he just stopped and Childress ran over him, of course being called for the foul. Sam finished with 20 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists and 1 steal.
It got chippy at one point with KG and Horford and then KG and Williams going at each other. KG and Williams were assessed double technicals. I am surprised that Sam didn't get a technical as he was celebrating after every basket and I recall Tony getting a technical for celebrating. KG finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in 29 minutes of play. Pierce had a solid game with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 27 minutes. Ray Allen had 14 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 30 minutes.
Rondo kept slipping on the floor. There were at least 3 times that I remember that he slipped and fell down. I think he needs to get sticker shoes. He finished with 5 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal in 22 minutes. Perk had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 24 minutes. Big Baby also had a big game with 8 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes and he played the whole 4th quarter.
The Celtics shot 47% from the field while holding the Hawks to 43%. They were 26-29 from the free throw line which was a big improvement over recent free throw shooting. They also cut their turnovers down to 12. Both are good signs as we head to the playoffs. This is the second game where Doc went with the bench down the stretch and they came up with a win. It looks as though the Hawks will be our first round opponent in the playoffs. They are a tough team, but the Celtics are much deeper and that will be the difference.