Game 2: We Will Not Concede.

It's a new day Celtics fans. After watching a vintage Perk performance in OKC last night, I'm feeling refreshed and optimistic about the outlook of our own series.

As I said in my game 1 recap, I am unwilling to concede this series. And, there's not any circumstances that can change that.

The Celtics are going to be without Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen tonight. It's not ideal, but it shouldn't affect the game as much as many people think. I have all the confidence in the world in Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus. We've won games against playoff teams with this starting backcourt. They're terrific defensively, and they both provide similar skills to the guys they're replacing. Both of these guys were offensive non-factors on Sunday, and I expect them to be much better tonight.

Kevin Garnett aside (his second half saved him), all of the key guys that will take the court tonight are coming off a terrible game 1. This team simply has too much firepower to turn in another performance like that again.

In my game 1 recap, I talked about how good the Hawks looked. Well, now more than 24 hours removed from that game, that appears only partially true. They did get out to a blistering start, beginning the game 8-11 with some momentum-boosting 3 pointers mixed in. During this early stretch, the Celtics were completely out of sync offensively. These compounding factors put them in a huge hole.

However, after this fast start, Atlanta shot just 35% the rest of the way. Their ball movement stopped, and they were playing a lot of the ugly Joe Johnson iso ball for which they've become notorious. This is who they really are, and, the Celtics can absolutely lock them down. In fact, in the half court, the Celtics should swallow them up. Logic dictates that the Celtics will shoot better. This will lead to fewer of the easy buckets Atlanta got in the first half of game 1. Bradley, Pietrus, and the rest of the Celtics defenders will no doubt be much better getting back defensively after what we saw Sunday.

Give the Hawks all the credit in the world for what they did on Sunday. But this is not a new team. The real Hawks were there for most of the game. The real Celtics were not. If that changes tonight, we've got a great chance to be heading back to Boston with a split.

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