Sideline Observations: Atlanta Hawks 83, Boston Celtics 74

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.

Other Notes

* 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 

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