|Posted by B-PAUL on November 13, 2009 at 12:33 AM|
(This is why a guy name Zaza shouldn't mess with The Big Ticket)
Tonight the Celtics will face off against one of their tougher Eastern Conference opponents of the year, the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have already shown this year that they are not a team to mess with. The have quality wins against both the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers so far this year. They will come into Boston tomorrow night as a young, gritty team with something to prove.
Since the 2007-2008 playoff series this matchup has become somewhat of a rivalry. On one side you have the Celtics squad that thrives off talent and veteran leadership. Then on the other side you have a very physical, determined, and young Atlanta Hawks squad. During that playoff series two years ago, the rivalry between these two different squads began to form. Between the seven games played there were multiple events that helped to create the rivalry we have today.
The heat between these two teams started to form very early in the series. Following a Game 1 defeat Mike Bibby said the following about Celtics fans:
"But a lot of these fans are bandwagon jumpers trying to get on this now. I played here last year, too. And I didn't see three fourths of them. They're for the team now and they might get a little rowdy but that's about it."
Celtics fans answered Bibby's comments by harrasing him for the rest of the series with chants such as "Rondo's Better" and "Bibbyyyy, Bibbbyyyy, Bibbbbyyy". Lets just say Bibby didn't have the best of games stats wise for the rest of the series.
The intensity then began to pick up again during game 4 in Atlanta when KG and Hawks bench scrub Zaza Pachulia got face to face causing a verbal argument. The cause of this confrontation was because of a KG elbow to Zaza following a dead ball, apparently Zaza thought he was a tough guy and stood nose to nose with The Big Ticket. This would not be the last event including these two.
The Hawks then became more confident after their game six victory, espically Al Horford. Horford decided to yap at Paul Pierce following a game sealing shot that he made. Pierce started approaching the Hawks bench before being re-routed by Scalabrine. Recently Horford started the rumor that the rivalry between these two was because of a bet they made before the series started. Turn's out this rumor was not true, and Horford took back his words.
We then moved onto the decisive game seven, which I was lucky enough to attend. This was by far the rowdiest, most intense game I've ever been to at the Garden. The Celtics clearly had domination on their minds, but the Hawks wanted to get a few shots in before their season was over. It started toward the beginning of the third quarter when Marvin Williams picked up a flagrant two foul after clotheslining Rajon Rondo on a breakaway layup.
Game 7 also included KG getting payback for that game 4 incident with Zaza. This happened when KG set a screen in the backcourt for Rondo, who was bringing the ball up, Zaza tried staying with Rondo and did not notice KG standing there for the screen. The end result was Zaza lying on his back listening to a rowdy Boston crowd rejoice in what had just happened. The series ended and the Celtics eventually went on to hang banner seventeen.
Last year's Celtics and Hawks game also included some drama when Paul Pierce hit a shot at the buzzer to secure a Celtics victory. I'm sure this scrappy Hawks teams remembers all these events and will have payback on their mind as they come to Boston tomorrow night with something to prove.