- Celtics 87, Hawks 80 - Just to let you know where we are as a city this morning, I actually read a column calling this loss the worst in Hawks history. I don't agree with that notion, but any way you slice it, this was a game that the Hawks a) couldn't afford to lose, and b) gave away. First of all, credit Paul Pierce for getting into the time machine and annihilating the Hawks throughout the game, finishing with 36 points and a gritty 14 rebounds to carry the C's offense. But after that? Blame was passed around. Josh Smith's shot selection has reached joking levels in the last 2 games with 12 jumpers in the opener, and 10 jumpers last night (he made only 2 and that's being generous with "jumper" on a 9-footer he made in the 2nd quarter), and I can't even begin to discuss the egregious reverse dunk attempt in the 1st quarter. Just know that I wasn't a fan of a circus dunk attempt in a crucial playoff game with the defense trailing close enough to alter such an attempt. Smith wasn't the only guy to blame (and he did have 12 rebounds while holding KG in check), as Marvin Williams was probably the worst player on the court in his 21 minutes, and Joe Johnson did "Joe Johnson" things, going 7 of 17 including an completely uninspiring 4th quarter effort that saw the full-scale return of Iso-Joe and negative outcomes as a result. Have I mentioned yet that Josh Smith has a sprained knee and could miss time as he undergoes an MRI today? There is no visible scenario for the Hawks to win a game in this series without Josh Smith unless Al Horford magically returns at 100% no-rust health, and even if Smith is healthy, the Hawks have lost home-court against a better team, and they did so in a game that didn't feature Rajon Rondo. There are no winners.
- Elsewhere in the Association - Philadelphia beat up on the Rose-less Bulls 109-92. Six guys in double-figures led by 26 from Jrue Holiday and 20 off the bench from Lou Williams, and the Sixers shot 59% from the field on the road here. That's an impressive effort against Chicago regardless of who isn't playing for them. And in the West, the Lakers held on for dear life against Denver and got a 104-100 win. Bean Bryant had 38 points (on 15 of 29) for LA to lead all scorers, while Bynum had 27 and 9 against the outmanned Denver front-court. I was high on Denver entering the series, mainly because of their speed, and while Ty Lawson was spectacular last night, it's clear that if Kobe has it going, Denver has no chance in this series with the front-court matchup as it is.
- Tyson Chandler reportedly won the defensive player of the year award, and that's okay with me. He's an elite guy in the middle who somehow transformed that Knicks unit into an above-average defense while carrying the carcass of Amar'e Stoudemire and the defensively-inept guard trio that features Mike Bibby and fat Baron Davis. Congrats to him.
- MLB Check - The Braves dropped game 1 to the Phillies 4-2 as someone finally touched Jonny Venters. The Braves set-up man gave up 2 runs in the 8th that proved to be the difference in this one, and while any loss isn't fun, this one isn't cause for alarm. Brandon Beachy was tremendous (again) with 7 innings of 2-run ball, and losing to Cole Hamels isn't a crime. On to Wednesday. Jerome Williams decided to put the Angels struggling offense on his back last night to tune of a complete game, 3-hit shutout for LAA. Albert Pujols went 0-4 and is slugging .292. Yep. And finally, the Orioles are chugging along at 15-9 after a 7-1 win over the Yankees last night. Brian Matusz got the win for Baltimore, and while he has fallen off the earth for about a year, it's nice to see the former uber-prospect pitch well.
- One bad MLB note is that Rays 3B Evan Longoria will miss 4-8 weeks with a tear in his hamstring. He had going this year (.994 OPS, 4 HR, 19 RBI) and they'll miss his bat in the lineup, but the Rays will be fine for a relatively short time period, and this loss will have greater effect on my fantasy roster. Not bitter.
What to watch for on Wednesday...
- MLB - Rangers @ Blue Jays - 12:30 MLB - Harrison vs. Romero - Midday baseball and two quality starting pitchers to go along with the best offense in the league in Texas.
- NBA - Jazz @ Spurs - 7:00 TNT - San Antonio looked like a gauntlet in Game 1 and that'll likely continue here. One note to watch is how the "big" line-up performs for Utah. It had been dominant in the regular season (with Favors, Jefferson, and Millsap playing at once), but got killed in Game 1.
- MLB - Phillies @ Braves - 7:00 SportSouth - Halladay vs. Hanson - Awesome pitching matchup, even if no opposing fan ever wants to see Roy Halladay on the mound.
- MLB - Orioles @ Yankees - 7:00 ESPN - Arrieta vs. Nova - As stated above, Baltimore is playing well right now, and Arrieta is another strong young arm.
- NBA - Pacers @ Magic - 7:30 NBA-TV - They should rename this the NBA-TV series. Give me the Pacers.
- NBA - Clippers @ Grizzlies - 9:30 TNT - After the epic Game 1 comeback/meltdown, all eyes are on Memphis to see how they respond here.