Kendrick Perkins on Jamal Crawford before the game:
"We put a hit out on him today."Jamal Crawford:
28 points on 16 shots many of them vital in building a lead that kept Perkins, the defender, nailed to the bench for the game's final 17:38.Oh, and Crawford also said:
"They can knock me down, and I’ll get back up. I know my teammates got my back."That's the thing that has made Crawford, who is having a good year by his standards and is better than Flip Murray was last year (though not to an extreme degree), appear so devastating this year. He's surrounded by guys who can cover for everything he can't do. Jamal Crawford has always been able to score. He's never been able to do anything else. On this team, the latter doesn't really matter. That Crawford's name comes up on the fringes of the All-Star discussion is, in part, another argument in favor of Al Horford and Josh Smith both making the team.
[I]t was Crawford who did all the hitting -- in the paint, off the backboard, beyond the 3-point line, and even from halfcourt. He scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half to turn a nine-point deficit into a 12-point halftime lead, and the Hawks coasted the rest of the way to a 100-91 win -- one that was unusually chippy for a regular season game but par for the course for a Hawks-Celtics tilt.Paul Pierce:
"They played hard for four games. They took care of business, like we did to them last year."Mark Bradley:
[T]hat’s the thing about these C’s. They’re yesterday’s men. They talk better than they play, at least against the Hawks. They were better than the local team in 2008 and 2009, but now it’s Twenty-Ten and time marches onward.Zach Lowe at Celtics Hub provides a detailed example of what Paul Pierce was working with last night:
Here’s a frozen moment for you: The Celtics are up 16-7 with 3:10 left in the 1st quarter. They are getting good looks inside by attacking Mike Bibby and frustrating Atlanta’s halfcourt offense with their usual stalwart screen/roll defense. Rajon Rondo dribbles left to right along the baseline, slides under the hoop and curls up toward the right elbow around a solid Rasheed Wallace screen. The pick catches Rajon’s man (Joe Johnson), and Sheed’s man (Josh Smith) stays with Sheed on the roll toward the hoop.More from Pierce:
Rondo is wide open 15 feet from the rim. I’m looking at the video right now. No one is within eight feet of him. He’s so wide open—and Joe Johnson is so unconcerned about it—that Rajon actually takes an extra dribble in toward the rim and still finds himself with plenty of space to jack what would now be an open 14-footer.
Except, of course, he opts to pick up his dribble and throw a left-handed pass across the court to Paul Pierce. Mo Evans sees it coming, jumps into the passing lane to steal it and goes coast-to-coast for an And-1.
"Once the playoffs start it’s all 0-0, but you know they feel like they have the edge."Doc Rivers, not so subtly, asking for help before the trading deadline:
"We brought the bench in, which you had to do because of playing [Thursday night], and they go up by 11. Starters come back in the third quarter and get it back to 1, you put the bench in, and bam. So it’s tough."By-the-by, Shelden Williams yesterday: DNP-CD and zero (0) stories in the Boston press about him returning to Atlanta for revenge on the organization that didn't appreciate him and/or give him a fair shake.
Paul Pierce makes a good, and at this point quite obvious, point about how the Celtics choose to defend Joe Johnson in the fourth quarter:
"We let them isolate us, and that’s the way they play. They did it four games vs. us. I think we should have done a better job with our help defense, getting another man to bother him. When those guys get going, they can really go off."When Zaza Pachulia has a good night, there's only one place to go for commentary, Peachtree Hoops:
Zaza had one of his best Zaza nights. Down around six points in the second quarter, he hit a wide open jump shot and celebrated like it was a quarter ending three. Then he went and grabbed three rebounds in a row.The Vent:
I'm not even going to talk much about the flagrant foul that Josh Smith picked up because he wrapped his arms around Kendrick Perkins, I'll just say I expect the league to rescind it and send Josh a detailed apology written in calligraphy on the finest stationery.I don't envy the job of having to officiate a game such as last night's, where some of the world's greatest athletes look to bump into each other to assert their dominance over territory, and, it must be said, there were no ugly incidents. But, Josh Smith was (eventually) whistled for a flagrant foul because Kendrick Perkins swung an arm back and hit Smith in the face. That's poor officiating of a type all too common in basketball today: making decisions about actions primarily in term of reactions.