The Celts advanced past the Hawks yesterday afternoon, in a smoky, raucous Garden that brought back memories of the Forum, if not the old Boston Madison Square Gahh-den.
If you watched only the games in Boston, you would think that the Hawks might play 100 games without winning one; the margins of victory were 23 (Game 1), 19 (Game 2), 25 (Game 5), and 34 (Game 7). As impressive, the Hawks shooting percentages were 38.2%, 38.3%, 40.6%, and yesterday, an unbelievable 29.3%.
But of course, not all the games were played in Boston. And the Hawks -- at home -- proved that the Cs have vulnerability, especially to a slasher (like Joe Johnson).
Nor were the legs of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett helped by the 114 minutes (Allen and KG both went 40) on Friday and the 90 extra minutes (+/-30 each, even with resting almost all of the fourth quarter yesterday).
But with the ultimate slasher/scorer -- LeBron James -- looming on the horizon, and with a scant 48 hours between the win yesterday and Game One of the Cleveland series tomorrow, things won't get easier for the Celtics.
With the difficulties this team has had on the road so far, they had best stay 'on serve' at home this week.