The Bruins are toast, the Red Sox are cooked and Tom Brady is cooking up a semi-faux hawk on red carpet in New York.
The Celtics are all that's left between Boston and two-a-days in Foxborough.
There were no faux Hawks Tuesday. Al Horford and his Atlanta teammates were all too real as they beat the Celtics in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Rajon Rondo has become Boston's most intriguing storyline thus far in the postseason. Ejected in the final minute of Game 1. Suspended for Game 2. Triple-double in Game 3. Even better in Game 4.
Then to end Game 5, Rondo pulled a Hondo and stole the ball on Josh Smith's inbounds pass with 10 seconds to play.
He then dribbled out the clock in honor of Sam Jones.
Only problem there - the Celtics were down 87-86 at the time.
And they still are.
There was little Bird-like about this swipe, since it was about 75 feet from the basket, D.J. wasn't cutting down the lane in anticipation of the play and Isiah Thomas was last seen clearing out his desk in Florida.
After his steal, Rondo indeed raced upcourt with a shot to clinch the series, but Horford switched off and was waiting for him on defense. Paul Pierce sagged right side and Kevin Garnett got caught in a pick set by Smith as Rondo drove left side.
With all the bricks he's tossed this season, Celtics fans would have liked just one more heave-ho from their enigmatic point guard. But instead of pulling up or passing off to Pierce from the top of the arc, Rondo drove to the baseline only to face Horford, whose fancy footwork on the final play looked more suited for the "Dancing with the Stars" extravaganza airing on ABC.
The Hawks managed to avoid elimination. Roshon Fegan - whoever that is - and Melissa "Half-Pint" Gilbert weren't as lucky. Speaking of dead weight, the Celtics were a -22 with Brandon Bass on the floor. Big Baby's got plenty of free time on his hands. Can he get to Boston by Friday?
"I cornered myself," Rondo said after the game. "Give Al credit." (Also wondering WTF just happened - Daniel Bard after Matt Alberts gave up that three-run bomb to Billy Bulter.) And we shall. No doubt Horford had fellow Florida Gator @TimTebow praying extra hard for him as he scored 19 points and played more than 31 minutes in his first start since January.
Next stop, Game 6.
Update: Rondo is still dribbling.
Boston holds a 3-2 lead and the people in Atlanta brought a whole new meaning to the term "silly string" with those streamers that came down following the Hawks victory. The fans in Altanta haven't been this loud and euphoric since the Thrashers left town. Dancing fools all. This was Game 5, after all, not Game 7. The series resumes Thursday night in Boston. We expect to see "Gino" dancing when that one is over.
Pierce's "How can they leave him so wide open?" three-pointer closed out the scoring for the night pulling the Celtics to within one point with 50.6 seconds to play. And for 47 minutes and 51 seconds of Tuesday's loss to the Hawks, right through his fifth and final steal of the night, Rondo was spectacular. In the smooth courtside dialect of Clyde Frazier, he was "swishing and dishing" all night. Rondo finished with 13 points and 12 assists. He even crashed the boards against the likes of Smith and Horford on occasion.
Luckily somebody was.
As @EveryCelticsFanOnThePlanet (who isn't a real person but rather several million people) probably tweeted, "For the 10,000,000th time since the Perkins trade - #Celtics miss defensive presence inside." Boston was outrebounded 41-33.
With Pierce on the bench nursing his sore knee and Reggie Miller singing his praises from the sidelines on TNT ("Rondo could be the next All-NBA point guard.") Rondo lit the fuse for the Celtics as Boston roared back into this game in the third quarter. He fed Ray Allen before Allen nailed a three-pointer (just his third of the series) to cap off a 19-2 Boston run that put the Celtics up 73-69.
"I thought Rondo willed us back into the game in the third," Doc Rivers said in his post-game press conference. "That stretch was huge for him."
This was not Doc's greatest coaching effort. He was out of timeouts when Rondo committed his petty theft and he benched Allen - who had 15 points off the bench - in favor of Avery Bradley for defensive purposes on the final possession. Guess Doc had no idea Rondo had one more steal in him. Although someone tweeted in the split-second before the play: "Come on, #Hawks - you can still blow this one. #Celtics"
Next time, Rondo will have to stretch out just a bit longer.
Rondo nearly did it all Game 5.
He might just pull it off in Game 6 with one more shot.
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