The Atlanta Hawks rode a 31-point first quarter and never looked back in their Game 1 win over the Boston Celtics, 83-74. Joe Johnson may have only had 11 points, but the Hawks never backed down even during the Celtics surge in the 4th quarter. Rajon Rondo has now been suspended for one game after bumping a referee. Larry Drew looks for his team to take full advantage in Game 2 on Tuesday. Larry Drew joined WCNN in Atlanta with The Rude Awakening to discuss the impressive offensive effort turned out by the Atlanta Hawks against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Joe Johnson’s poor shooting performance in Game 1 and Rajon Rondo bumping an official in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs first round.
How impressive was the offensive effort against the Celtics in the first quarter?
“Well first let me say the crowd was absolutely unbelievable last night. To walk out on that floor and just to hear the ovation and the energy in that building. There were a few green jerseys kind of sprinkled around amongst the crowd, but our fans were there last night and they were in full force. They were there cheering our team on. I know our guys feed off of it and and it was absolutely great to see. We did get off to a good start. Going into this series one of the things we talked about and we tried to put special emphasis on is that fact that getting off to a good start and dictating the rhythm and pace of the game. I think our guys did a great job of that early getting some stops. We got out in transition. We had really good ball movement and you can kind of see that…at least you can feel the energy and the excitement that our team and our guys were feeling in that 1st quarter. I thought that first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the game and it really dictated the pace of the game as the game wore on.”
On a night where Joe Johnson had a miserable outing shooting the ball what do you say to him?
“Keep shooting. [Host: Do you say that during the game too?] Absolutely. Absolutely. One thing about scorers is that they have the mentality of missing five shots, but they feel they can come back and make the next 10 in a row and it goes the same thing with games. They can have a bad game, but they always feel they can come back the following game and get back to rare form. I told our team after last night’s game first of all very proud of them how they played all four quarters. Boston made a run, but they withstood it. More importantly they know we rely on Joe. If Joe is having an off night on most cases we don’t win the game, but last night it just shows what our team was made of. It shows what our team is capable of. Joe didn’t have a typical ‘Joe Johnson’ type night yet we were still able to win the game. That says a lot about the character of this team. That says a lot about the talent of this team. I think we have the ability to win games if one of our main guys is not on that night. I know Joe will bounce back from last night’s game. We wont stop running plays through him. We wont stop running plays to him. We need him to keep his aggression offensively and just continue to work hard.”
There’s a good chance Rajon Rondo won’t be in the next game right?
“Well that’s something the league is going to have to take a look at. After the incident last night and after the game we just back and replayed it and looked at it over and over again and first of all just to see the whole play with Josh Smith diving for the loose ball and clearly Brandon Bass jumped on top of him. It was clearly a foul. Then after that with the technical with Rondo and the official? The league is going to have to take a close look at it. I’m sure they’ll make the right decision.”