It may not be heroic, but the offensive production of Johnson and Tracy McGrady has at least allowed the Hawks to keep pace with the Celtics, who lead 40-38 in a game that is by no means easy on the eyes.
After missing the first two games of the series with bone spurs in his right ankle, Ray Allen has returned with eight points on 4-6 shooting, chuckling to ESPN's Lisa Salters at halftime that his ankle feels fine and saying he's just an old man who's a bit winded.
For the Hawks, McGrady looked like the T-Mac of old in the first half, with 10 points on 5-9 shooting. But with less than a minute remaining in the half, McGrady rolled his ankle and had to be taken to the locker room.
With the Hawks bench already thin, will we see the venerable Jerry Stackhouse playing valuable minutes in the 2012 NBA Playoffs?
Coming into the game, nearly all pundits announced that the Celtics would not only run away with a victory tonight but likely sweep their three home games en route to a series win.
That can still happen, but the Hawks should be lauded for keeping this game choppy and slow. They've forced the Celtics into a half-court game, with many of their key players struggling to score.
To get a win, the Hawks have to keep this game looking ugly and hope the Celtics continue to play with little sense of urgency.