Don't expect Rajon Rondo to return to the lineup on Tuesday! (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)
It’s hard to believe, but April is officially coming to a close!
Good Monday to everyone, and welcome into another grand edition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s kickstart the day with some news and headlines from Boston.
* The Boston Celtics dropped their first playoff game on Sunday, as the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Green and White, 83-74. Josh Smithposted 22 points and 18 rebounds for Atlanta, while Kevin Garnettand Rajon Rondoeach paced Boston with 20 points.
* Atlanta and Boston will return to the hardwood for Game No. 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7:30pm.
* The Boston Red Sox had their six-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, as the Chicago White Sox defeated the local nine, 4-1. Cody Rossrecorded his 18th RBI, while David Ortizcranked his ninth double of the season.
* The Red Sox, who’re now 10-11, will attempt to snap their one-game skid against the Oakland Athletics — Clay Buchholz opposes Tommy Milone.
* Kevin Youkilisexpressed that despite being a late scratch on Sunday, he believed could have been a pinch hitter. Youkilis is currently dealing with a sore lower back, but hopes to be back in the lineup on Monday.
Josh Smith tallied 22 points and 18 rebounds, as Atlanta defeated Boston, 83-74 on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)
By Matt Noonan
The Atlanta Hawks earned a 13-point lead after the first quarter, and never relinquished their advantage, as they went onto defeat the Boston Celtics in Game No. 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, 83-74.
The Hawks now lead the Celtics, 1-0 in this particular best-of-seven series, and will attempt to earn a two-game lead on Tuesday when both teams return to the hardwood for Game No. 2.
Player of the Game:Hands down, I am going to select Josh Smith for this award.
He not only paced Atlanta with 22 points, but also led both squads with 18 rebounds, too. Smith recorded 43 minutes of playing time, and finished the contest 8-of-20 from the field.
Slow Start for Boston: Prior to their first playoff contest, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers elected to sit a majority of his starters.
On Sunday, it appeared that the head coach’s decision may have been the wrong thing to do, as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett appeared out of sync.
Garnett and Rajon Rondo each concluded the contest with 20 points, while Pierce tallied 12 points. Although, while it’s only one game, it’s fait to state that all three of these players didn’t exhibit the chemistry from the second half of the regular season.
Boston wins the battle of the paint: Despite the loss, the Celtics still managed to tally 36 points in the paint, while the Hawks netted 28. However, Atlanta won the battle of the glass, 50-41.
* Rondo may receive a one-game suspension for bumping a referee at the end of the game. If that’s the case, we’ll most likely not see him until Game No. 3 on Friday, May 4.
* Boston tallied seven offensive rebounds/ Atlanta recorded 11
* Boston registered 11 fast break points/ Atlanta tallied 10
* Boston went 10-of-13 from the stripe/ Atlanta finished 14-of-21
* Boston’s bench finished with four points combined/ Atlanta’s bench recorded 17 points
The Red Sox still have the ability to shock the most cynical of fans.
This week Boston hit the road to win six out of seven games, losing a 4-1 decision to the White Sox on Sunday for their only blemish. Sure, the Sox played the Twins and White Sox, neither team a world-beater; but those are the teams that must be beaten to win a World Series. Felix Doubront (1-0)further proved he was starting pitcher material with a win in game one of the Chicago series, allowing three runs in six innings to finally earn his first win of the year.
The bullpen didn’t collapse (although they certainly tried in the Twins series at times).
Jon Lester (1-2) out-dueled Jake Peavy in a stellar 1-0 win on Saturday as well. Winning that contest was crucial for Boston because it showcased their ability to out-pitch an opponent rather than out-slug, something they have yet been unable to do in the first month of this season.
Ryan Sweeney and David Ortiz continue to rip the cover off the baseball, sitting atop batting average leaderboards in the American League.
Last week I wrote more about Boston’s near certain demise. The Red Sox are not yet out of the woods. There is still a lot of work to be done for this team to contend in a very tough division. The additions of Rich Hill and the possibility of a Daisuke Matsuzaka return before May is out, along with using Aaron Cook out of the bullpen would signal the pitching depth and help Boston still most desperately needs.
Although the Red Sox finish this April with one less win than April of 2011, they still hold a better record. At 10-11 this season, the Red Sox improved on their 11-15 record to end the April of 2011. We will see if they can improve on their impressive 19-10 May 2011 record in order to creep out of the basement in the American League East.