Postgame notes: C's deny Smith again

BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks 102-90 Thursday night at TD Garden:

The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)

* Celtics keep Smith quiet for second consecutive meeting

* Harangody makes impression in extended first-half appearance

* Loose balls: Wafer's back tightens up; Davis: Flagrant 1, Charge 1


Josh Smith isn't on Kevin Garnett's so-called redemption list this season. In fact, Garnett went out of his way Thursday to stress the respect he has for Smith. But Smith's anemic offensive numbers Thursday show yet again how a healthy Garnett is dominating his competition this season and helping Boston thrive on the defensive end.

For the second consecutive meeting, Smith did not register a single field goal against Boston. As the Hawks played without Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, Garnett helped harass Smith into 0-for-8 shooting (this after an 0-for-3 effort in the first meeting). Smith finished with one point, three assists, and four rebounds over 34 minutes, 11 seconds on Thursday.

"I didn't even know that stat," said Garnett. "Young fella, he's a gifted player; Don't let the stats fool you. He's asked to do a lot with Joe Johnson out.... He does most of the things, he's very active on defense, blocking shots; Scoring is just one of the many things he can do. I have a lot of respect for Josh. I didn't know that stat before you told me, I have a lot of respect for young fella."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was likewise taken aback by the stat, but said he'd be OK if that trend continued.

"He's just missing shots," said Rivers. "I don't know why, but let's hope it continues whenever we play them. We were not doing anything different. We don't have any Jordan Rules or anything like that. That's good, that means someone's playing good defense."

And as Celtics captain Paul Pierce was quick to note, much of that credit belonged to Garnett. For his part, Smith admitted he was off.

“I was into it on the defensive end," said Smith. "I just couldn’t help out offensively. The good thing about it, I got a chance to redeem myself [Friday], playing Charlotte. Get in get some rest. You just can’t stop believing yourself. I think I got down on myself too early in the game because things weren’t falling. I think from a team standpoint I think guys did a really good job contributing.”

Hawks coach Larry Drew said his player just wasn't in the game mentally.

“Josh wasn’t Josh today," said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "His energy was low. What we’ve seen... this definitely was his worst [game]. Not even from a point standpoint. The energy he has given us in the past, he did not have it tonight at all. Talking to him at halftime, just trying to pump him up and encourage him to just play through it. He'll get it going, but it didn’t happen. He'll bounce back, he'll bounce back. The one thing I don’t want anyone to get discouraged about night like tonight. They don’t shoot the ball well, if things don’t go well because its too long of a season to allow a snowball affect to happen. He struggled tonight, he recognizes it. We have a game [Friday] night, we’ll just bounce back tomorrow night."


Rivers joked before Thursday's game that Rajon Rondo's absence could lead him to stick rookie forward Luke Harangody at backup point guard due to a lack of depth. That didn't happen, but Harangody got extended minutes due to a thinned bench.

Harangody responded by scoring four points on 2-of-4 shooting and grabbed a rebound over 7:25 spanning into the second quarter. At a time Rivers was desperate to rest his frontcourt starters in Semih Erden and Garnett, Harangody ate up minutes.

"Let me tell you, Luke in the first half was terrific," said Rivers. "He kept balls alive, made some shots, and that’s what he does."


* Von Wafer logged only 2:06 of action before departing with a sore lower back in the second quarter and did not return. That left Boston, already carrying two injured players (Shaquille O'Neal and Rajon Rondo) on the active roster, with nine available bodies.

Wafer, who had received extra treatment the past few days, said he think it's an issue with getting loose and suggested he might need to alter his pregame stretching to prevent his back from tightening up. It wasn't anything he did in the game, which Rivers playfully noted.

“It had to be quick," Rivers said when asked if it was something Wafer did during the game. "That was too easy. That’s too easy a question because Von played 2:05. So, no, his back was bothering him before the game. The last three days, he’s come in for treatment on his back."

* Celtics forward Glen Davis picked up a flagrant 1 midway through the second quarter for grabbing Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia around the collar while trying to prevent an easy layup. Davis atoned by chipping in a game-high 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds over 32:50. He also picked up charge No. 28 of the season in the second quarter.

* During TNT's halftime segment, Charles Barkley suggested that Rondo is the MVP of the league, noting, "He's the engine that stirs the drink." No, really, that's what he said.

* The Celtics weren't the only ones on a back-to-back. Halftime act extraordinaire, Red Panda Acrobat, pulled double duty, making her 2010-11 TD Garden debut. After an often lackluster first half, she got the biggest cheers of the night during the intermission.