May 4, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; A pair of Boston Celtics fans wear masks of Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (not pictured) and Boston Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett (not pictured) before game three against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Playoffs: First Round - Day 7

Tonight offered a nice helping of the Boston Celtics – a team I foresee giving Miami the best bang for their buck. (I’m still not sure about Indiana … too young? Inexperienced? Pick one.) Elsewhere the 76ers continued to pin down the wounded Chicago Bulls, while LA and Denver battled it out in a fairly predictable, but still noteworthy, Game 3.

Game 1:

Boston vs. Atlanta
Final Score: 90-84 (Boston)
Series: 2-1 Boston

Rajon Rondo is the man – 17 points, 12 assists and 14 rebounds. There are no words to sum up his performance, so I’ll let this video do the talking:

I’m surprised Atlanta gave the Celtics such a tough go this round, what with Josh Smith sidelined due to a knee injury, not to mention the Boston setting. But they hung in there, despite a rather lackluster performance from Kirk Hinrich (0-for-3 in 26 minutes). Boston should win the next one, but Atlanta won’t give in, even in the wake of this rather heart wrenching loss.

Joe Johnson played superbly, scoring eight points in the final period (29 altogether, or nearly 35-percent of his team’s total score), while T-Mac dusted off his Air Jordans and contributed 12 points (all in the first three quarters).

This might be the first overtime game I’ve seen in which the teams fail to score a bucket for the entire last minute of regulation. Johnson’s 3-pointer tied the game at 80 apiece with 1:23 left on the clock; and that’s where we stayed until the final horn sounded. Rondo, T-Mac, Garnett, Green, and Pierce all choked in the final moments, which is alarming seeing how every one of those guys typically delivers in crunch time.

Luckily for Bostonians Rondo, Garnett, and Pierce all performed admirably in OT, with the Big Ticket in particular throwing down a wicked slam with 28-seconds left. Atlanta scored just two buckets after shooting 11 times. T-Mac took some stupid jumpers, as did Green, with no one attacking the bucket as they had with such urgency earlier.

Game 2:

Chicago vs. 76ers
Final Score: 79-74 (76ers)
Series: 2-1 76ers

I missed almost all of this game. Chicago is just too depressing to watch right now. And should they lose Joakim Noah, a deflated team becomes that much flatter. Looks like Philly will end up taking on Boston in the second round (Yup. I’m calling it, which means Rajon Rondo will probably suffer a cataclysmic stroke moments before Game 4 … these playoffs are becoming less about ability and more about which team can survive).

Game 3:

LA vs. Denver
Final Score:

Not yet completed.

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Tags: 76ers Atlanta Boston Bulls Denver La Playoffs Rajon Rondo\

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