With the Celtics leading the Hawks 3-2 in the opening round of the playoffs and Game 6 Thursday night in Boston, Atlanta will need to play their best basketball to earn a trip back home for Game 7. The Hawks were destroyed in every phase of the game during a Game 4 loss the last time they played in Boston, and they can’t afford to let that happen again. According to Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon, Atlanta has gotten no help from the officials.
“On top of all that, we don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears,” Gearon said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. (Kevin) Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”
Gearon is not the first person to call K.G. a dirty player and he certainly won’t be the last, so Garnett will probably let that go in one ear and out the other. The stuff about old guys fouling, however, may motivate the Celtics. Boston was successful down the stretch this season because they were one of the best defensive teams in the league. Unless every official they have had has missed the fact that old guys foul a lot, Gearon’s reasoning seems a bit flawed.
If the Hawks think they are going to get calls based on their reputation of being athletic versus the Celtics’ reputation of being old and run-down, they’re wrong. As old as the Celtics are, they are also loaded with Hall of Famers and have earned the respect of the league and its officials. Guys like K.G., Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce are going to get the benefit of the doubt with calls that could go either way. That is the nature of professional sports.
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