While young age may not always be a disadvantage in the playoffs, playoff inexperience among a roster of young players is. Evan Turner was a bit disappointing with just eight points on 4-of-17 shooting, but also had seven rebounds and four assists in the loss. With that being said, none have been farther than the second round. “You look at older guys like Ray Allen”.
Everything about the playoffs is different. They have a lot of individual talent. He was obviously the focus of the Hawks “D”, and they swarmed him the entire time he was on the court. They haven’t discussed a need for surgery, though he said nothing has been ruled out.
The Hawks were the clear better team against Boston, and were more dominant against them than a six-game series would necessarily indicate. “They’re better right now”, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points and 10 assists, but most of that came in the second half during the comeback effort after being bottled up early.
There are also two other things going for Boston this offseason.
The Hawks lead the First-Round series 3-2, and one more win would set up a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who swept the Detroit Pistons in their first-round series. From 40 wins to 48 and a couple playoff wins. They didn’t shoot well all series either, however, they were able to make up for it.
Behind 45 points from Paul Millsap, Budenholzer’s team almost earned an ultra-rare playoff victory in Boston in Sunday’s Game 4, but was outscored 12-3 in overtime in a 104-95 defeat. On Thursday, the Hawks had as many as six players in double figures to ensure a Game 6 win.
WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Fourth-quarter offensive fouls & Tyler Zelller.
The Celtics were down 58-to-41 and the game was getting out of hand quickly.
Crowder’s dunk with 4:26 left before halftime brought the crowd back to life and pulled Boston within 34-25, but the Hawks stretched the lead to 41-33 entering the break.
What was an even matchup at the outset of the series could never be fair game with Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk unavailable – or in Olynyk’s case unusable – while Jae Crowder played hurt and Jared Sullinger played in cement shoes. He even made all four of his free-throw attempts for good measure and added nine defensive rebounds to go with his 11 points. That’s the same approach they took with Isaiah Thomas in the first round this year. Jonas Jerebko had eight points to compliment Thomas. The series got chippy all the way around but it escalated to another level between these two.
Boston’s one shining moment in this game.
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Thomas tried to motivate his teammates and/or threw them under the bus with his post-Game 5 debacle quotes: “They (weren’t) anxious about anybody else…Other guys have to step up and make plays”.