It doesn't seem like that long ago that the Atlanta Hawks looked like a real threat to knock of the Boston Celtics after a Game 1 win and a Rajon Rondo suspension. But three straight wins for the Celtics have dramatically shifted the series in Boston's favor.
Even though Josh Smith's return was supposed to give Atlanta a boost, Rondo's familiarity with him negated any impact that was expected, according to Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.
But Rondo and Smith have been close friends since high school, and Rondo could see Smith was distracted and unable to drive the ball with confidence. As Smith dribbled aimlessly in the early going, trying to decide what he could do, Rondo stripped him in the front court to launch a fast break that Rondo himself brought to a halt unpredictably, like a conductor changing the tempo to poignancy from bliss.