“I thought they were a better team than us tonight," said Rivers. "I thought we played well in spurts. Every time we put in a good spurt, we either grabbed the lead or cut the lead. I thought, offensively, we had very little ball movement. I think we tried to do it all ourselves instead of as a team, offensively and defensively. I really thought because we weren’t scoring it affected us on the other end. We didn’t have the best effort tonight. I always say you get out of it what you put in, and that was true tonight.
“I thought the Hawks were more physical than us, and they really attacked us, especially in the second half. I thought we played well early, but then they took over the game from there. Right now you have to give it to them, they are the better team."
Pierce agreed, noting that the Celtics just didn't have their head in the game in the second half.
“We didn’t come out focused in the second half and turned the ball over," said Pierce. "You can’t do that against a team like Atlanta. We made a run in the fourth quarter and rebounded well all night until late in the game. They had a few offensive rebounds late, and that really hurts when you’re trying to make a comeback. For the most part we’re a very focused team, but the little things is what we didn’t focus on in the third quarter. Screens, defensive assignments, things like that. We have to be better on the road.
"It seemed like every time you looked up, they had a guy open from [3-point land]. I thought they pushed the ball a little bit more, and Jamal Crawford made a couple of big plays for them. We have to do a little bit better job putting pressure on him when he comes off the pick-and-roll. We were right there pretty much all game, but then he came in and gave them the energy they needed.”
As Celtics center Kendrick Perkins noted after the game: "It wasn't Celtics basketball tonight."