ATLANTA It remains to be seen just what kind of impact not having Rajon Rondo on the floor for tonight's Game 2 matchup between Boston and Atlanta will have on this series.
One thing we do know, both teams are not going to dwell on it.
"It's over now," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We just move on."
Boston has adopted that mentality whenever Rondo has been out of the lineup, evident by them posting an 8-5 record without him in the lineup.
The Hawks know all too well how dangerous a Rondo-less Celtics team can be, with the C's taking Atlanta down to the wire last month as Rondo - and a number of fellow starters - sat out the game out.
"When you play teams with key players out, they become even more dangerous," said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "The tendency is to let your guard down. Sometimes you come out a little complacent. Sometimes you don't come out with the fire and intensity and the energy."
C's coach Doc Rivers said Mickael Pietrus will get the start in the lineup at shooting guard while Avery Bradley will slide over to play the point.
"Just try to have the right focus to help the team win," said Pietrus who will be making his seventh start of the season. "No matter if it's scoring, defensive in the playoffs, you have to do whatever extra thing your team needs, to win. That's what I am preparing to do tonight; whatever they need me to do for us to win."
Highlights from the Boston Celtics 97-92 win at home against the Sacramento Kings
BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center.
He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant.
And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder.
Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free.
“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.
That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins.
But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs.
“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.”
As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players.
Crowder wasn’t having it.
“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”