The Celtics came out on top Tuesday, beating the Hawks 87-80 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Boston Celtics played without suspended point guard Rondo and injured shooting guard Allen, putting much of the pressure to score on captain Paul Pierce, who certainly did not disappoint.
Pierce reminded fans why Celtics coach Doc rivers often calls Pierce a “professional scorer” Tuesday night. 34-year-old Pierce scored the game’s first points six seconds in and accounted for Boston’s first nine points overall. He scored 36 points over 44 minutes, 21 seconds on floor time, culminating in a pair of free throws that put the Celtics ahead 85-78 with 1:15 left in the game.
After the game, Pierce took to Twitter, posting, "44 [minutes] tonite, old for this, I need a bed right now!!!"
Kevin Garnett added 15 points while Avery Bradley chipped in 14. Brandon Bass added eight, and Keyon Dooling finished with six.
Dooling explained the attitude of the Celtics to ESPN. “We’re professionals,” he said. “Throughout the season, we were in the rotation, out of the rotation, not playing that often. But you focus, you give yourself to the team, you never let yourself get out of shape, never let yourself get in a funk mentally, and stay in tune with the game plan and the schemes. Then when your number is called, you gotta be ready.”
Garnett said the veteran Celtics players are doing their best to instill this sense of professionalism in the younger players. "Everyone knows it's not about one person; it's about the group, the team. This team is like a well-oiled machine, you come in, you know what it is. There's no excuses. You give 100 percent, that's what it is."
Rondo will be back for Game 3 Friday night in Boston, although Allen’s situation is still unknown. The series is tied 1-1.