Apr 20, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) reacts to throwing the ball away against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
The Celtics and Hawks re-ignite their playoff rivalry Sunday night in Atlanta.
The Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks rekindle their playoff rivalry in the four vs. five match-up of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. When the Celtics rose to prominence after trading for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, it was the Hawks — then the No. 8 seed — who provided them with their first playoff challenge, taking them to seven games in the first round before the Celtics went on to win another championship.
The Celtics still have the same core from that team, but now it's composed differently. Garnett is now a center and has transformed himself into one of the best in the league. Brandon Bass is starting at the four, defensive pest Avery Bradley is starting alongside Rajon Rondo and Allen is coming off the bench to provide instant offense. It's a recipe that's worked for them since the All-Star break, how it fares in the playoffs is the only remaining question. That, and how deep the Celtics can go.
For the Hawks, who will still be without Al Horford, the story is all about Josh Smith. The power forward has been playing at a high level all season, and the way he affects the game on both ends of the court really can't be measured. If he plays at his highest level and Joe Johnson provides his typical clutch shooting, the Hawks, who have home court advantage, have a very good chance of taking this one.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, April 29, 7 p.m .ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta