Originally posted on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 4/23/12


By sitting most of their regulars against the Hawks Friday, the Boston Celtics essentially told Atlanta — now officially their first-round opponent — “We aren’t worried about the prospect of walking into your house and taking at least one game, suckas.” The sentiment makes at least some amount of sense: While the Celtics have been contending for championships and/or refusing to go down meekly the past four seasons, the Hawks have been stuck in neutral, never accomplishing much that was more lasting than their seven-game series loss to Boston in 2008.

But the Hawks have performed well this season, as Larry Drew has taken a team ravaged by injuries, especially the lengthy one to Al Horford, and kept them almost exactly where they have been recently, in fourth place in the Eastern Confernce. Their margin of victory, normally one of the best playoff indicators, is seventh-best in the entire NBA, even with Horford out since Jan. 11, three weeks into the season. (Boston’s margin of victory, obviously skewed because the Celtics played so poorly during the season’s first half, is 11th-best.)

And Horford might return soon, though it doesn’t sound like returning is the smartest option for his future. The All-Star played three-on-three with some teammates the other day and said he was “frustrated” because “I’m supposed to be fully healed but I’m not all there yet.” He also finds himself telling coach Tyrone Corbin to hit him during drills, because contact “is something I need to feel good about.”

When asked Sunday where he would rate his chance of playing in the playoffs on a scale of 1 to 10, Horford responded, “I would say a 7. I really want to play. I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing for me physically but I want to be out there and I feel like it’s realistic.”

Horford’s return wouldn’t force the Celtics to quiver when thinking about round one, especially if his impact is diminished due to lingering effects of a torn pectoral muscle. But he does give Atlanta another dimension. At the time he was injured, the Hawks were 7-3 with victories against the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.

Of course, the Celtics would still believe their late-game execution is enough to defeat the Hawks: Case in point, on April 11, the Hawks scored just two points against the Celtics in an entire overtime session. They tried to run a play for Joe Johnson on the final possession of regulation, but the Celtics defended that perfectly and Jannero Pargo ended up taking the final shot.

At some point in the past four seasons, the Hawks graduated — if that’s the term — from “the little engine that almost could” into “the overpaid collection of mediocre talent that still can’t.” The Celtics are banking on meeting the same Hawks this season that haven’t made much noise in any of the past three postseasons. Horford would like to think he can change that, but the Celtics will enter round one with utmost confidence.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Chris Paul ‘despises’ Doc Rivers, had issues with treatment of son Austin

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

Chip Kelly defends Kaepernick: He was not a distraction

Steve Smith faces suspension should he unretire

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker