ESPN.com's 5-on-5 today includes a hefty dose of Celtics-Hawks based on both Friday night's matchup and a possible first-round playoff series. Here's a sample, which asks, "Fact or Fiction: The Hawks will handle the Celtics in the playoffs."
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Fiction. This isn't like 2008, when the Celtics' core was playing its first series together and needed home-court advantage for each of its playoff victories against the Hawks. Yes, both regular-season games have been close, but one came the day after the Celtics won in Miami, the other in Atlanta after Boston had five West Coast games in seven days.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Fiction. The Hawks could certainly beat the Celtics, but "handle" is too strong a way to put it. I think what we're more likely to see is a reprisal of the classic seven-game first-round series the two teams played in 2008.
Rob Peterson, ESPN.com: Fiction. I think it's the other way around. I don't think the Hawks -- or longtime observers of the Hawks -- ever know what they're going to get from game-to-game or from quarter-to-quarter. What I do know is that the Celtics have more of a killer instinct than the Hawks and Boston is not afraid to act on that instinct.
Brian Robb, CelticsHub: Fiction. I expect any series between these squads to be extremely competitive, with the core players from both squads remaining intact from their seven-game battle in 2008. Atlanta may have home-court advantage, but I expect the determining factor to be defense, and almost nobody has been playing D better than Boston this season.
Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: Fiction. This may be the best Hawks team of the past several years, but even if Al Horford can return in time for the playoffs, they will have trouble scoring against Boston. And while their defense can likely hold a pedestrian Celtics offense in check, I don't trust the Hawks to win a defensive series against the C's.
Hop HERE to read the full 5-on-5.