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Thursday, December 18th, 2008 at 9:00 am  |  73 responses

Hawks vs. Celtics: This is a Rivalry?

by Marcel Mutoni

All told, yesterday was a pretty rough day for Atlanta sports enthusiasts. Not only did their former shortstop spurn them to stay in sunny Cali, but the local pro hoops team lost in heart-breaking fashion (again) to their arch nemesis from Boston.

And the worst part was how much the Hawks had done to build up the hype prior to the game. From over-dramatized YouTube productions, all of the town’s celebs showing up, to wild-eyed statements from the players themselves. Here was Joe Johnson’s take on matters, courtesy of the AJC:

“It’s so much trash talking, and I think that’s what makes it such a big rivalry. You look at all the altercations that came throughout that series. It’s a rivalry when you know that there’s going to be a fight for your life every time you face a team. And it’s going to be like that every time we see them. But it’s a respectful rivalry, too. When it’s all said and done, both teams respect what the other has done.”


Riiiiight. Some rivarly. What I see, more than anything else, is a nice little matchup.

Sure, these two teams don’t like each other a whole lot, and often play highly entertaining games filled with drama. At the end of the day, though, Boston wins, as they should. And they will likely continue to do so.

But, hey, thanks for coming out to play (again), Hawks.

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  • Myung

    I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. As much as I love the Hawks, we’re not at the same level as the C’s. If the opponent doesn’t consider you a rival, then it’s not really a rivalry in its truest sense. I liken it to UGA and GT football. GT hates us, and beating us is the highlight of their year. We barely acknowledge them as an opponent (compared to UF, Auburn, and Tennessee). In the 80′s, this was more of a rivalry, and it has the potential to be one again (we’re getting there, slowly but surely), but I can definitely understand why Boston doesn’t consider us a rival.

  • Benoit Benjamin

    Give the Hawks one more year and they’ll beat the Celtics everytime. Of course, then they’ll lose to the Cavs, but that’s a whole another matter.

  • Myung

    I think the Magic are supposed to be our “rival” in terms of geography, but I can say that after following this team for 20 years now, I don’t think we have a rival (a la Pistons-Bulls, Celtics-Lakers, Spurs-Suns).

  • riggs

    theyre like their little brothers

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    All I know is Hawks fans hate the Celtics right now. When LeBron is in town he is watched in amazement of course and fans have a healthy respect for his game. We absolutely HATE paul Pierce, KG and Kendrick Perkins. It’s hard to hate Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, but it’s super easy to hate Pierce and KG and Hawks fans hate them right now. It may not be a rivalry, but the Celtics players were just as amped about that game as the Hawks players. KG who normally just shouts obscenities into the thin air and at lesser players shouted them at fans last night and PP felt the need to give a throat slashing gesture so they can say what they want, and say it was just another regular season game, but they didn’t act like it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    This is not a rivalry….more of a team that matches up pretty well with the Celtics lineup making close games the norm.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Joe Johnson…dammit.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    It’s Nique’s fault. He said we we’re going into overtime before Joe even stepped to the line, and something about he had no doubt Joe would make both free throws.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    I don’t hate the Celtics as much as their douchebag fans walking around Philips Arena and the CNN center with their sense of entitlement. The Celtics are a good, fun team to watch.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    And yeah, I don’t think any of the other teams in the Southeast division have even existed long enough for a real rivalry to develop.

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    a nice rivalry indeed… :D

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    What, I feel like you are in the minority. The rest of us hate the Celtics. We hate their fans plenty too though. ;)

  • joe

    this new site up for this site sucks

  • joe

    this new set up for this site sucks

  • haitianprince

    great, entertaining game last night. ‘m from boston and the talk here about the hawks is that their a great team, but underrated. personally, i’ve followed the hawks closer when josh smith came to town. and he was a big reason they almost beat us last night. i love the player and respect his game (just get that jumper going smooth. can’t add the J because their isn’t one). for hawks fans to actually “hate” the celtics, i wouldn’t blame you. i watch KG swear at everyone and laugh. he wasn’t doing that crap in minnesota while catching them L’s. now that he’s a champion and winning, i feel as though he can. the guy is an animal, loves the game and his filled w/ emotion. NOW, he implementing that attitude and behavior to kendrick perkins? different story. he’s a celtic and i personally don’t like him. i wish they’d trade him already. but he’s been coming up big this year so we clown his less compared to previous years. he got a big block last night and contributed big late in the game. the hawks have always been fun to watch, and when they added jojo to the mix couple seasons ago, i was excited. lets see if these two teams meet in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

  • dfrance

    I’ve been a KG fan since his early Minny days and it was refreshing to see him take charge on offense like he did last night. That was the first time I’ve seen them go to him consistently down the stretch and he delivered. With that said, he’s at an all time high with the craziness this year. He’s always been nuts, but this year he’s off the charts and its hurting his rep a little, so I’m disappointed about that.

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  • kev

    definitely a rivalry. hawks are still young and need some better coaching to get there talents organized.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Josh Smith over Perkisabest = Slamadamonth?
    Garnett acted like a complete assh*ole last night, he treats a big game like a fight. So sad for JJ, OT would’ve been a great watch. The hawks exposed to c’s only true weakness: a lack of atheleticism. ATL got to the offensive glass and got second chance points off loose balls.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    “Garnett acted like a complete assh*ole last night, he treats a big game like a fight” Uhm…….so did Michael, so did Larry, so did Magic….that’s why they won titles, ciolkstar. When Kobe was running with a team that had the same makeup, he won three titles, with the pretty boys he has now…..well you saw how that worked for him, yes? As*holes have that edge….I think the proofs in the results.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I agree completely E, KG still one of my favorite players. I just thought the Cs were more obnoxious than usual last night. I actually meant the “fight” part of that statement as a compliment. He came up HUGE in the 4th anyway. Still, AI recently got fined (25K) for talking sh!t to a fan, lets see whats happens to KG, who was doing that sh!t for the entire 4th. He is a dominant player, but just a little too antagonistic for my taste (esp recently)

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    For the record I never saw Michael or magic run their mouths that much. Ever. Maybe Larry did. Regardless, being a great competitorand winner and showing a little class are NOT mutually exclusive.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Nothing will happen to KG because nothing has happened to him all season. He seems to be able to do whatever the hell he wants with no consequences.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    This is not even close to a rivalry. The Hawks are not on Boston’s radar. They make it tough and the Celtics know they have to bring it everytime against this team in order to win. No more, no less. As E said, they just match up well. / You want to shut them up? Beat them.

  • Myung

    I respect the heck out of KG as a player (when it’s all said and done, he’s probably top 25 all time). As a person, from what I’ve heard from people who’ve actually met him and tried to interact with him, all the way to the taunts (Calderon, et al)… I think he’s a paper tiger and a jerk. I know some of you will disagree with me, and that’s fine. We’re all entitled to our views, and if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. But I do feel like when I said I didn’t like KG (not taking into account what a tremendous player he is) last year or before, a lot of people came to his defense. It seems like people who were on the fence the past year seem to be siding more and more with people who have the same view as I do. He’s a great player who is rather unlikeable. And it’s weird too because the guys most NBA fans can’t stand are just annoying cats like Damon Jones, Bruce Bowen, Reggie Miller, and Christian Laettner. KG is nothing like them, yet his likeability (not to be confused with his popularity, which is still sky high) seems to be dropping.

  • steve

    Everyone always seams to hate winners. The celtics are one of the best basketball teams to ever exist. Like the Jordan Bulls, Magic Lakers, or Bird Celtics. I love how no one gives them credit, it makes there dominance so much sweeter to us Celtics fans. I live in LA and can’t even wear a celtics shirt, because I literally get screamed at constantly. Oh, how sweet it is. And, atlanta fans should love Paul Pierce because he taught Johnson all his moves. Also, nothing can happen to KG? Ummm, you realize he has already got suspended for a game for clearing out a little too rough. If the truth and KG were on your team, you would love them, they are amazingly fun to watch. If only people knew how pethetic a sore loser sounds!

  • Myung

    But I suppose that’s not the point of this post by Marcel. Bottomline is, we don’t like the C’s…hate losing to them… the fans get amped up 10X more for C’s games than any other opponent… yet it’s not a rivalry because they’re the champs and we’re a team that’s only made the playoffs once in the past 10 years. Hopefully Joe will bounce back and not turn into Nick Anderson 2.0. Go Hawks!

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I still like KG, but he is getting a little too rambunctious. All that woofing. But, he has been woofing forever. Folks just didn’t notice it as much when his team was getting smashed.
    I was happy to see KG take over in the fourth though. That was a big eff you to everybody who says he can’t do it late in big games.
    I feel bad for Joe Johnson. I’m a big fan of his and I was shocked when he missed that free throw after being so huge the rest of the game. Kobe, DWade and Joe Johnson, the holy trinity of two guards.

  • Fredo

    The Hawks aren’t on the same plane as the C’s. That said, that it’s expected of them to take the fight to the World Champs is a sign that people are beginning to respect them.

  • Glenn

    KG is really weird . Just a very strange guy . Good player but seems emotionally unstable . He could be mental hospital material . I really thought the Celtics got all the calls & that was the difference . Officiating really plays to much of a role in the NBA . Its no wonder that NBA referee was tied to gambling . They have a hand in the outcome .

  • KA

    kg’s act used to be cute. used to be. that kinda stuff is cool when you’re the underdog. now you’re killing people easy. you’re already good and dont need that kind of ish to amp things up. just play and stfu.

  • wilz

    fight for their lives…HA!

  • riggs

    Celts got all the calls?!? what game were u watching?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    What he meant to say was Celtics got all the calls in the 3rd qtr. Like Paul Pierce slipping and them calling an officials timeout instead of traveling or kg blatantly double dribbling with no call. You know just stuff like that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com John D

    The Celtics had more fouls than the Hawks did and that’s including Atlanta’s intentional fouls at the end of the game to stop the clock. I don’t want to hear any pissing and moaning about the refs. Show me an NBA game where there are 0 bad calls. There were some bad calls for both teams last night, just like any other game. Anyone who blames this loss on the refs is a sore loser. Period.

  • Rob

    Hawks fans hate Pierce, Garnett and Perkins….but they like Rondo & Allen?

    So what?

    Now go get your shinebox.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    There are bad calls in every game but those were blatant and no one is “pissing and moaning” about that. Except maybe Doc in the first quarter.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Care to mention the offensive foul on KG when he was just standing for a pick and he got ran over (which earned Doc a T)? I believe it was in the 3rd q.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    CoCo
    Somebody else hit the ball on that play that looked like a double dribble. You could see it on the replays, although it looked funny in real time.
    And it wasn’t a travel when Pierce fell. Unlike college, you can actually fall in the NBA, you just can’t get up. I agree that the official timeout saved the Celts from having to use one, but I don’t think it was that egregious. The Celts got some “champion” calls from the refs, but the Hawks got the “aggressive” calls. By that I mean that the Hawks got away with some over the backs and some fouls in the paint because they were the more active team in those areas.

  • Myung

    Pretty amazing that just TWO YEARS ago, this team went 24-58 and had an 18 game LOSING streak. Within 2 years, they’re the defending champs and now have a 16 game winning streak. It’s crazy how a franchise can do a complete 180 in one calendar year.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    As with most events surrounding a game everyone’s opinion about certain calls will differ depending on their rooting interests. C’s fans are real understanding right now, but wait until a call or two costs them a game. They might not be so quick to defend the refs.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Its amazing how quickly Celtics fans forget those 20 win years too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com John D

    I remember the sh*tty years pretty clearly. I’ve had the 22-game ticket package since the ’03-’04 season. I sat through a damn Celtics-Bucks game in ’07 when both teams were blatantly tanking to get Oden. But that’s neither here nor there.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    oh yeah I forgot you’re a season ticket holder for those dirty rotten stinkin Celtics. ;)

  • no id

    I think of all the teams in the east, atlanta is the team that boston does not want to face come playoff time. granted that boston won but, you get that feeling that sooner or later the hawks will over come there mistakes. both games this season have been the best games this season in the nba so far to me. good game by both teams though..

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Over their last 9 games, Boston’s won 6, and the last two by a combined 4 points. I’d say it’s still a rivalry. even if Boston doesn’t want it to be.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Why are all of my damn comments awaiting moderation? I didn’t swear in all of them. ;)

  • steve

    KG didn’t double dribble, the ball was hit out of his hand? Ummmm, you realize that it was only the camera angle that made it seam like a double dribble (you could only see his back). And, PP slipped on a huge wet spot and they called a official timeout, you know exactly the same way they did for atlanta literally 30 seconds earlier. The celtics played crap offense last night, if they had clicked atlanta would have lost by 20+. You did see Ray miss like 7 threes right, yeah, that was a fluke. I agree if KG wasn’t so damn good at ball he would totally be in a mental hospital, he is out of his mind. But, what people don’t understand is that all his crazy has nothing to do with crowds or fans, it is himself psyching himself out, that is how he gets in his zone. If he didn’t do that, if he was a calm hindu cow, KG would NOT be KG.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    Wait, so Christian cows and Muslim cows are not calm?

  • steve

    And also, I just don’t get the whole bandwagon thing? The whole, 2 years ago they were awful thing? Can someone just explain to me why a professional team using good management to create one of the best teams ever is such a make-fun-able offense, seriously. Why this amazing team exciting the masses and creating thousands of new celtics fans in New England is such a problem? I just don’t get it. Honestly I grew up a celtics fan, my dad has watched or went to basically every game since 66. I love the celtics. I mean, they were so awful after Walker left that it was unwatchable… But now they are amazing and it’s fun to watch again. I mean if atlanta suddenly got Tim Duncan and Lebron and were amazing, would you say the same things about your them and the new fans that would create. The celtics being the best team in the league is good for basketball, you know it and I know it. Just watch and enjoy.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I wasn’t watching the game on tv so camera angles don’t really mean all that much to me, but thanks anyway. And you act like the Hawks were on their game offensively last night. Don’t give me that Boston would have won by 20 crap. It doesn’t even make sense when you consider they only won by 3. Had they won by 15 maybe you could say that, but to go from 3 to 20 is just dumb.

  • steve

    Ha, Hindu’s don’t eat beef on account of their religion. I think I stole he line from the book fight club or something. Not really sure what you are going for by pointing that out, seams like a ignore the facts and focus on the words type argument. Good stuff there, I’m impressed.

  • steve

    Statistically, the celtics held the hawks to exactly where they average holding teams to. They are what, 3rd in the league in that, maybe better. 1st in opponents field goal percentage. I’ve watched every game and just thought they were a little offensively off last night, expecially Ray. He has been scoring 25-30 points lately. He was shooting crappy last night. They weren’t rebounding good either. I mean, I think the hawks played pretty good defense, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think the Celtics played nearly at 100% on the offensive side. I mean, it doesn’t really matter because they are a defensive team, and the won. That’s what they seam to do no matter how much other teams fans hate it, they win.

  • steve

    The celtics have bring 2 games to the table… Either they are awesome on defense and just “get by” on offense, or they play awesome defense and click offensively. Either way they have been winning. The only difference is, if the big 3 is feeling it, they win by 20+.

  • Myung

    Steve, I’m not sure if you were referring to what I wrote or what Co Co wrote. My post was actually all about giving props to the Celtics and Danny Ainge for turning things in a 365 day span. Co Co and I both support the Hawks very passionately, but we tend to see things a little differently from time to time (as I’m sure all fans do).

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    In order for it to be a rivalry, both teams need to win games and all. I know that they won in the first round for three games there, but they haven’t won a title over them or anything. Beat Boston in the first round, and it’s a rivalry. Or get some vicious techs and it’s a rivalry. Right now, I wouldn’t say so.

  • Crook

    We TRUE Celtics fans indeed DO remember the sub 20 win seasons as we remember the Banner years of Parish Bird McHale DJ Ainge etc etc. Those sub 20 years are why this feels soooo great.

    I’m the 1st to yell at the refs when they make bad calls on our opponents as I do when they make them against us. A team tries not to get in a situation where a bad call costs them a game and if they do then oh well it’s ONLY a game…

  • Crook

    Oh yeah, it’s not a rivalry. 1 exciting playoff series does not make a rivalry. We haven’t been gfood long enough to have a rivalry with anyone yet. The Lakers Celtics final was called a Rivalry because of the past history and for ratings. That’s it.

  • j-smoov 5

    Obviously a rivalry! Wait till the playoffs, they’ll probably meet again.

  • Crook

    No one hated the Celtics when they were losing. lol. No one hated KG when he was losing AND talking trash but now that he is winning he is called an AnalCircle. what a joke.

    As far as bad calls, if your Hawkes hit the crucial freethrows at the end they could have at least went into OT so don’t blame the refs blame the miscues.

  • http://www.stumbleupon.com blackjack

    Everybody hates #1

  • Crook

    1 last thing…how many Celtics should make the ASG? Be honest with yourself. KG, Pierce, what East pg is playing better than Rondo? Can you deny Ray? Remember his 4th qtr show last year. How many East Centers are playing better than Perk? Think about it before you write the negativity. J Smith, J Johnson should be there for ATL…I love A Horford but he isn’t a true center.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Yo Crook, are you T. Crook, the Celtics fan that got in Trash Talk a few issues ago? Looks like it might be.

  • Myung

    Crook, I am a Hawks fan, and the only person even close to being worthy of an All Star berth other than Joe Johnson is Mike Bibby. Josh Smith (blame the injury if you want) hasn’t made the proverbial leap, and Al Horford isn’t an All Star either (he’s my favorite Hawk, but I’m objective too). To answer your question, I’d say Rondo, KG, and Pierce.

  • Myung

    Regarding your question about East centers playing better than Perkins… how about Okafor, Dwight Howard, Horford, Jermaine O’Neal, Bogut, and Zydrunas? All you need is 2 or 3 (since I doubt more than 3 centers will make the Eastern and will probably be just 2). You can’t be serious in thinking Perkins is an all star. He’s a bruiser and plays his role well, but he’s basically just an Eastern version of Brandon Bass. On a good day, he’s Nene. Translation: he’s not an all star.

  • Crook

    Not an All star but very functional

  • Young Chris MP3

    CoCo, when was the last time the Hawks won a championship? 20 years or not, and I believe E will attest to this too, when you win the big one, you win the big one.

    If the haters wanna hate, then it’s their loss…

  • Young Chris MP3

    And Crook, Ray Allen is playing the best ball on the entire team thus far…

  • melvin ely

    Why is it being seen as a negative to have the Hawks look at the C’s as their rivals? Well yeah sure the C’s barely acknowledge them, but to me the important thing is that the Hawks are a young and hungry team looking at the top dogs as someone they believe they can beat. And if your a hawks fan (or someone who just plain enjoys watching hoops for that matter), having a young team with that combination of fire and potential in them is a very very good thing. Screw the C’s is what I say, if these hawks think they’re equals and back up their talk with games like these (it’s not a W, but hey: how many teams have taken the mighty Boston Juggernaught this close to losing?)then that’s what they are.

  • chintao

    As a neutral fan, I would say that a rivalry exists here. For me, it’s about intensity. It seems like both teams bring a little extra when they go against one another. It kind of reminds me of the old Knicks-Heat thing. The Knicks won almost all the games that mattered, but every night got pretty personal.

  • ClydeSays

    It’s a rivalry if ESPN and the Hawks Marketing team says so…

    I do think the Hawks are inching their way up the ladder to challenge Orlando for #3 in the East.

    C’s are just dominating this year though. The scary thing is that they can still improve.

  • http://www.slamonline.com John D

    This is not a damn rivalry. Come on.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    Steve, it was just a joke, chill out

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