Mike Woodson had no idea his point guard was going to tee off on the Boston fans before Wednesday's Game 2 of this first-round playoff series. If he had, he'd have stopped Mike Bibby before he got started.But Woodson, like most of the folks in Boston, learned of Bibby's comments -- he blasted the Celtics fans for being fair-weather and bandwagon jumpers -- on the local news.
"I caught it on the news when I woke up from my nap (Tuesday evening)," the Hawks' coach said before his team was pulverized for the second consecutive game in their first-round playoff series against the Celtics. "You can't undo it, though. So you've got to go out there and play."
The Hawks did just that Wednesday night, with the crowd at TD Banknorth Garden riding Bibby the entire way.
"There's no doubt we've got his back," said Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson. "They (were) tough on him but that's part of it. He stepped up and said what he felt and with us being his teammates, we have to step up and have his back."
Woodson said he would have used a different method to make his point. But by no means would he have tossed gasoline onto the fire of 18,624 that awaited Bibby on Wednesday night.
"You still have to win a game here (Boston) if you're going to get out of this series," Woodson said. "I don't care how you cut it, you've got to win four games to go to the next round.
"And Mike Bibby, he's been around. Mike Bibby's a very smart young man. He said what he said. There's nothing you can do about that. It's out there now. We still have to go play the game."
CELTICS 96, HAWKS 77: The Hawks were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment in a 23-point loss in Game 1 of their playoff series against Boston.
They were overwhelmed by the men in the white jerseys in Game 2.
The Hawks were unable to keep up the pace and got run off the floor by the NBA's most focused and ferocious team before a sellout crowd of 18,624 Wednesday night at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Celtics punished the Hawks with a fervor usually reserved for a worthy opponent, an equal.
But with tempers flaring in this series, on and off the court, the Celtics cranked the intensity up to levels the Hawks haven't seen all season.
All-Star power forward and recently crowned Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett led a balanced Celtics effort on both ends of the floor, finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and countless intimidation plays that helped his team finish off the Hawks.
"This team shoots 41 percent from the floor, we get 40 free throws and it's a 20-point game and that shouldn't happen," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "That's a product of the work they're doing on both ends, no doubt. We didn't adjust tonight offensively. We just didn't move the basketball. One guy is not going to beat this team. You're going to have to sacrifice."
Overmatched from the start for the second straight game, it's become clear that if the Hawks have any chance at all of making this series interesting in any way, it will have to be done on their home floor.
Games 3 and 4 are set for Saturday and Monday, respectively, at Philips Arena, far away from the green-clad faithful who showed up 18,000 strong on Wednesday night to ride Hawks point guard Mike Bibby for questioning their loyalty a day earlier.
Bibby shot just 2-for-7 from the floor and finished with 12 points and one assist, giving him two assist for the series.
"They're focused and dedicated and they understand all the pressure is on them, so they're trying to get us out of the way early so they can move on," Josh Smith said. "You can't do nothing but respect their focus. But a lot of it is on us. We had, what, five assists at halftime. Since Bibby got here we haven't been anywhere near that bad on offense. We have to share the ball and make that extra pass and we just aren't doing that."