Boston Celtics defeat Atlanta Hawks, 96-77

Yawn. Another night. An other double-digit win.

We've seen it before. Many, many times. It started on Opening Night, when they effortlessly dispatched the Wizards by 20, and it continues in the playoffs, where the Celtics have won the first two games of their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks by 23 (104-81) and last night's 19 (96-77).

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If nothing else, we've learned how selfless Kevin Garnett is this season, how he hates the individual attention (which is why he almost always insists on having a companion at postgame interviews) and how he is focused on one thing and one thing only - his first NBA championship.

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Instead of taking the Mike Bibby approach, the Celtics let their game speak loudly for them last night.

They routed the Atlanta Hawks, 96-77, in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at a sold-out TD Banknorth Garden. The top-seeded Celtics lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0. The next two games are in Atlanta, with Game 3 Saturday.

"Obviously, we love the win and I think our guys played with great effort tonight throughout the game," said Celtics coach Doc River...

Game 2 had barely passed the two-minute mark last night when Paul Pierce took a hard foul that definitely made the Celtics nervous.

Pierce had been fouled by Atlanta's Joe Johnson and also hit hard by Josh Smith, forcing him to the locker room clutching his lower back, with team doctor Brian McKeon alongside him.

Pierce returned to start the second quarter with what the Celtics described as a lower-back strain, then finished the night with 14 points in 28 minutes.

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