|Dennis Schroder inbounds the ball as Isaiah Thomas looks on in agony. @ATLHawks|
|Boston fights. The Hawks learned that the hard way in game four after squandering a 16 point lead in the 2nd half. This time the lead was 28 in the 4th quarter, Boston would get it down to 10 late but this time the lead was just too much for them to overcome. For the first time in almost 60 years, Atlanta beat Boston in a playoff series. Like most of the series, both teams started out cold. It wasn’t until the 2nd quarter that the Hawks started to turn on the jets and create some separation. Public enemy number one, Dennis Schroder, hit a three early in the 2nd to get the lead to 41-28. They however closed the gap to eight points at the half, 41-33. The 2nd half started out like the beginning of game 2. The Hawks came out on a huge run and quickly pushed the lead to 17, forcing a Celtics timeout. From there the lead ballooned to 21 before the Celtics went on a mini run to get it down to 14. This got the crowd back in to it, but Mike Scott and Al Horford combined to score 7 in a row to get the lead back up to 21 at the end of three. The 4th quarter saw the Hawks get the lead up to 28 and then saw desperation kick in for the Celtics. They were able to get the lead down to 10 with around two minutes remaining but it was too little too late. As Isaiah Thomas checked out of the game with 14 seconds remaining, him and Dennis once again had words. It was reported that Isaiah told Dennis to “meet him in the back”. As the buzzer sounded and the two teams congratulated each other, Dennis had to be restrained and hurried in to the locker room.
Kent Bazemore was arguably the Hawks MVP of the series. Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images
Leading scorers for the Hawks were Millsap with 17, Al and Bazemore with 15 and Korver with 14. Dennis shined off the bench, chipping in 12 points. Overall in the series Teague led the team with 16.5 PPG to go along with 6 assists. If I had to award a MVP of the series however, it would be Bazemore. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds but was a force on defense and brought so much energy to the court every night.
The Hawks will now turn their attention to the Cavs. The Hawks will be out looking for revenge after getting swept in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup. Although the Hawks record wouldn’t indicate it, the Hawks feel as if they are a better team this year. I’d also have to agree that the Hawks are much better suited for a matchup with the Cavs this year than last. With that said, the Hawks will surely have their hands full and it will take a complete team effort to stop Lebron from going to his 7th straight NBA Finals. Also keep an eye on Teague’s ankle, he once again twisted it in Thursday’s game. Only other injury concern is Al’s groin but he looked to shake that off in the 2nd half. Game 1 is set for Monday exclusively on TNT. Game two is Wednesday with the home game’s 3 and 4 being Friday and Sunday at Philips.
Al Horford and Kent Bazemore defend Lebron James Mark Cantave