NBA Playoffs – Day 13

The Hawks and Celtics battle one last time.

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As the NBA Playoffs roll along, we have our first Game 6, and it’s the only game of the night. That’s probably a good thing, because it might be the only game I can handle tonight, as my Celtics host the Hawks, down 3-2 in the series. The home team has won every game in this series so far, so there’s a good chance the C’s can force a Game 7. Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics leading scorer, tweaked his ankle in Game 5, but all signs point to him suiting up here in Game 6. The games in Boston have been some of the best of the entire Playoffs so far, so we should see a fierce battle as the Hawks look to advance to the second round, and the Celtics fight to stay alive.

8:00 pm – It’s time for another night of Playoff basketball on TNT! Just one game tonight, but it’s a big one: Game 6 between the Celtics and Hawks. The gang welcomes us into Studio J, where they tell us that the Hawks have never won a close out game in Boston. Despite this, Charles Barkley thinks they’re going to pull it off tonight. Shaq, on the other hand, thinks the Celtics are going to take care of business.

8:06 – Good god, I just realized that I should be watching this game on CSNNE! This is an elimination game, and everybody needs to bring their A-Game, including myself. The guys on TNT are just so good, it’s hard not to watch them. That being said, I’m not messing around…

8:09 – Here on CSNNE, our narrators will be Mike Gorman and Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn. A rousing “LET’S GO CELTICS!” chant is already ringing throughout the Garden.

8:11 – The Hawks take control of the opening tip, and Game 6 is underway in Boston!

8:12 – Jonas Jerebko knocks down a three, putting the Celtics up 3-0 with the first points of the game! Kent Bazemore gets a friendly bounce on his own three, tying us up.

8:14 – Jeff Teague makes an early trip to the Hawks bench, and might have twisted his ankle. Series villain Dennis Schroder enters the game for the Hawks.

8:17 – Teague returns to the game.

8:18 – Evan Turner gets to the hoop for a layup, and it leads to our first time out with the score Boston 9, Atlanta 5 with 6:33 left in the first quarter. Only three different players have scored so far, with Kent Bazemore scoring all five of the Hawks points, and Jonas Jerebko (5) & Evan Turner (4) scoring the points for the Celtics.

8:26 – Paul Millsap hits a little floater on the baseline, and the Hawks are on an 8-0 run, causing the Celtics to call a time out with the score Atlanta 13, Boston 9 with an even four minutes left in the opening quarter. Things have gotten sloppy for Boston, and Atlanta has blocked five shots already. The C’s also need to stop complaining to the refs and just play the damn game. A blocked shot is not cause to complain to the refs.

8:34 – Our first “BULLSHIT!” chant of the night is heard after a pretty bogus call against Evan Turner. Once again, the Boston crowd is very much into it.

8:35 – We’ve reached the end of what was a fairly yucky first quarter with the score Atlanta 20, Boston 17. The Celtics are shooting just 29.2%, but they’re down by just three as the Hawks aren’t shooting much better. Looks like we could be in for a grimy game here tonight.

8:38 – LaGarrette Blount and Malcolm Butler sightings in the stands! The Patriots often show up to the Garden to support the C’s during big games.

8:40 – An Al Horford hook shot gets us our first points of the second quarter and puts the Hawks up 22-17.

8:42 – Every time Jared Sullinger shoots a three, I die inside.

8:44 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 32, Boston 21 with 7:55 left in the first half. Things are going poorly for the Celtics, as they continue to shoot horribly from the field. They need to find some offense from someone, or it’s going to be a long and lousy night.

8:51 – We have another time out, and not much has changed. It’s Atlanta 34, Boston 23 with 5:24 left until halftime. With the Celtics shooting percentage sitting at 25.6%, they’re lucky it’s not a bigger deficit.

8:54 – There’s a buzz at the door! Who could it be!?

8:55 – It’s my buddy Brendan! Perhaps his arrival will inspire the Celtics towards some better play.

8:58 – Bill Russell sighting! He’s sitting by the Celtics bench, so they better turn up. There’s nothing worse than disappointing a legend.

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Celtics legends Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn reminiscing about how they used to dominate the old St. Louis Hawks.

8:59 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 36, Boston 27 with 2:57 remaining until halftime. The Celtics continue to somehow remain in shouting distance, despite 26.2% shooting. Hopefully they can start shouting a little louder.

9:11 – We’re here at halftime with the score Atlanta 41, Boston 33. All things considered, it could be way worse for the Celtics, who are shooting just 27.7%. On the plus side, their shooting percentage has increased incrementally each time I’ve looked it up. Paul Millsap has 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Hawks, who aren’t exactly running a basketball clinic, but they’ve done well enough to hold a nice eight point lead. Isaiah Thomas has 9 points and 5 assists for the Celtics. The C’s need to find a way to figure out this staunch Atlanta defense.

9:16 – Maybe an episode of Today in NBA Playoff History will cheer me up. As always, thanks to the gurus over at Basketball-Reference for guarding all of the basketball knowledge.

Back on April 28, 1966, the Celtics won their ninth championship with a 95-93 Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. It was legendary coach Red Auerbach’s last game on the C’s bench. Jerry West scored 36 to lead the Lakers, but Bill Russell had 25 points, and lord knows how many rebounds and blocks, as the Celtics secured a tight win, and another title. If anybody from NBA TV is reading this, get this game on Hardwood Classics immediately.

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Say, that did cheer me up! A Celtics comeback would cheer me up even more…

9:22 – My buddy Brendan has to leave suddenly. He’s a firefighter, and just received a call for a motor vehicle accident, so he just raced off into the night. Godspeed, Brendan!

9:30 – Kent Bazemore kicks off the third quarter with a jumper, getting the Hawks lead up to 43-33.

9:34 – Al Horford hits a three, and things are beginning to look dire for the home team. It’s Atlanta 53, Boston 36 with 9:56 remaining in the third quarter. The C’s have shown an ability to get back into the games in this series, but nothing’s falling for them tonight. Unless things change quickly, the Celtics season is over.

9:39 – Jae Crowder picks up his fifth foul, and he’ll head to the bench with 8:13 left in the third quarter. Despite his horrible shooting in the series, he’s been an important defensive presence for the C’s.

9:41 – Isaiah Thomas just got hit with a technical foul as he goes up for a layup, and doesn’t get a foul call. I don’t blame him for being mad, he gets less calls going to the basket than any star player does. Kyle Korver hits the technical free throw, and the Hawks lead 59-41.

9:45 – Another buzz at the door! Who could it be!? In other news, we have a time out with the score Boston 65, Atlanta 45 with 5:18 left in the game, so whoever is stopping by might be doing so to make sure I’m still alive.

9:46 – It’s my buddy Pete, who is on his way home from work and stopped by to see the end of this game.

9:47 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 65, Boston 50 with 4:31 left in the third quarter. The C’s have scored five straight points since Pete arrived. Let’s see if they can keep up the momentum.

9:50 – Looks like it’s Atlanta 65, Boston 49 after an Isaiah Thomas three was reviewed and downgraded to a two.

10:00 – Al Horford ends the third quarter with a turnaround at the buzzer, as the Hawks close the third quarter on a 7-0 run to make the score Atlanta 80, Boston 59.

10:05 – Dennis Schroder gets to the hoop for a layup, pushing the Hawks lead up to 82-59 with the first points of the fourth quarter.

10:06 – The Celtics need a time out as the Hawks have pushed their lead up to 87-61 with 10:30 left in the game. It’s a solemn scene here in my living room.

10:16 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 94, Boston 76 with 5:45 remaining. Pete and I are eating our feelings with help from a box of Extra Toasty Cheez-Its.

10:25 – Jae Crowder fouls out, finishing the game with 15 points and 6 rebounds for the Celtics, who have made an effort to get back into the game with a 22-6 run. Unfortunately, they still face a double-digit deficit with the score Atlanta 95, Boston 83 with 3:03 left in the game.

10:34 – We have a time out with the score Atlanta 101, Boston 88 with 1:15 left in the game. The Celtics battled hard here in the fourth to try and make this interesting, but the hole they dug themselves was just too big. Even Tommy Heinsohn is starting to wonder aloud about how the offseason is going to go. As for this season, here comes the Celtics band…

10:36 – The fans are drowning out the band’s stirring rendition of “Nearer My God To Thee” with an even louder “LET’S GO CELTICS!” chant as the season is less than a minute from being over.

10:42 – The game, and the series, comes to a close with a final score of Atlanta 104, Boston 92. Paul Millsap had 17 points and 8 rebounds to lead a balanced Hawks effort that featured six players who scored in double figures. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 25 points and 10 assists, but he shot just 9-24 from the field.

The Hawks played great defense all series long, and in the end, that’s what led them to a 4-2 series win, and a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. As for the Celtics, they just didn’t have enough consistent offense beyond Isaiah Thomas, and it was definitely their downfall. Things are looking up for them, however, as they own the lowly Nets first round draft pick, and like everyone else, they have a ton of cap room, which they hopefully use on some players who can shoot. As for the Hawks, I was very impressed with their defense and overall team effort. It will be interesting to see if they can cause the Cavs problems in the next round.

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I have to say, it’s pretty dispiriting to have your favorite team lose to a team that features one player who has his number bleached into the hair on the back of his head (Dennis Schroder), and another who is covered in tattoos of emojis (Mike Scott). Currently, Pete and I are drinking a beer to drown our sorrows after a toast to a fun Celtics season.

That does it for tonight. Tomorrow features three games, one of which will be airing on ESPNEWS. I don’t know why one of those games couldn’t have been played tonight, but I’m not the one who schedules these games, which is probably for the best.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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