BOSTON The return of Josh Smith (knee) and Al Horford (pectoral) was supposed to provide a jolt of energy to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Boston Celtics will see that energy, and raise it to a level that was too much - way too much - for the Atlanta Hawks to handle.
The result, a 101-79 Celtics win, was the kind of beating the Celtics have rarely administered this season.
Paul Pierce, who led all scorers with 24 points, had to leave in the second quarter with a left knee injury. He was able to return in the third quarter and picked up where he left off with a number of big shots.
The actual game wasn't nearly as close as the final score.
Boston surged ahead in the first quarter and led, 32-19.
Not satisfied, the C's continued to pour on the points in the second to take a commanding 63-41 lead at the half or so we thought.
At the half, officials reviewed a long jumper by Ray Allen that at the time was ruled a 2-pointer.
Upon further review, it was determined it was a 3-pointer.
Yeah, it was that kind of night for the Hawks who now trail the C's 3-1 in their best-of-seven series. Boston can wrap up the series and move on to the next round with a victory in Atlanta on Tuesday.
The Celtics had a pretty good idea that Josh Smith was going to play in Game 4 after missing Game 3 with a knee injury.
On Saturday, Smith told CSNNE.com that he had every intention of being on the floor Sunday night with his teammates.
"I understand the importance of this game," Smith told CSNNE.com. "You can't play injured, but you can play a little hurt."
Despite clearly not being himself, Smith still had 15 points and a game-high 13 rebound in 32 minutes.
That was essentially what the Hawks were getting from Al Horford, who had missed all but 11 games this season. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Maybe the biggest surprise of the night was Joe Johnson, who had nine points on 4-for-8 shooting and never seemed to be into it.
The C's had some uncertainty in their starting lineup prior to the game with a decision on Avery Bradley (shoulder) playing not being made until about an hour or so before tip-off.
Bradley had six points which included five straight in the first quarter that helped the C's open the seams to what was the first blowout by either team in this series.
With 8:48 to play, the C's were up 96-67 - and that wasn't even their biggest lead of the game.
All that was missing was Gino on the Jumbotron, and Kevin Garnett doing some kind of shimmy.
But all was not well for the Celtics on the health front.