--Celtics captain Paul Pierce had to be taken to the locker room with a lower back strain just three minutes into the game.He took a hard fall on a drive to the basket and was fouled by Joe Johnson, and then Josh Smith fell on top of him after the play. Smith tried to come over and block the shot from the weak side but was late.
Pierce didn't come back to the bench until there was 4:03 to play in the quarter. He played throughout the second quarter but went back the locker room after picking up his third foul with 3:18 to play before halftime.
--How's this for ironic: The two men at the center of the controversy that became the Hawks' ownership feud, general manager Billy Knight and part owner Steve Belkin, sat roughly 15 seats apart from each other in the same row Wednesday night.
Knight sat on one end of the row in Section 140 and Belkin on the other. Knight famously refused to shake Belkin's hand in a courthouse here in the summer of 2005 during a hearing on the Hawks' ownership dispute.
--Celtics All-Star Kevin Garnett was presented with the league's Defensive Player of the Year trophy before the opening tip Wednesday.
But instead of accepting it by lonesome, Garnett forced all of his teammates to come out to center court with him as the crowd, chanting "MVP" the entire time, roared its approval.
--The first words under offense on the dry-erase board in the Hawks' locker room said it all: "Seven seconds."
"We've talked about it the last two days," Josh Smith said. "We've got about a seven-second window from the time the ball either comes out of the net or off the rim to get it up the floor while they are transitioning from offense to defense. We have to focus on those seven seconds of every turnover in possession to try to push the pace."
It sounds great in theory, but the Hawks never could mount or sustain a consistent running game with the Celtics controlling the floor from the 3-point line and in on both ends of the floor.
--Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson didn't find much room to operate, either, finishing his night with just 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the floor.
Smith and Williams led the Hawks with 13 points each. Smith also added eight rebounds, four blocks and three assists. Rookie center Al Horford added nine points and nine rebounds and rookie point guard Acie Law IV added 12 points off the bench.
But the Hawks, who handed the Celtics 24 points off of their 22 turnovers, didn't get much of anything else going.
"We're not even giving ourselves a chance," Johnson said. "We're not playing team basketball and we're not playing hard on both ends of the court. We're showing a lot of immaturity right now. Mike and I are the oldest guys on this team right now at 29 and 26, so we've got to try and find a way to help these guys out on the court.
"But we're not valuing our possessions right now. We're so careless with the basketball, we're not helping ourselves at all ... as long as we're not giving ourselves a chance, there is no way we're going to beat this team."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You guys think what you want to think. I just tried to come out here and make things easy for everybody on the team." -- Hawks point guard Mike Bibby on what he was trying to do by going after the Boston fans.