After the Celtics  and Hawks  were separated by just four points through the first three games of their series, Rajon Rondo , Paul Pierce  & Co. put a 22-point whooping on Atlanta, and it wasn’t even that close.
The Celtics led by as many as 37 points, taking a 3-1 series lead with a chance to end the series on Tuesday.
“They shot the mess out of it tonight,” said Hawks forward Josh Smith, who returned from the left knee injury  that kept him out of Game 3. “I’m watching it and being real observant when I’m on the bench. They’re just running the plays way more harder than we are. Whatever play is called, you know, Ray Allen  is running off screens 100 miles per hour, Paul Pierce is finding a way to get open, the bigs are setting screens, getting the guards open.
“We have to try to duplicate what they do,” added Smith. “We have to try to get open. They’re trying so hard for Joe [Johnson] not to catch the ball. They’re being real physical with him, so we have to be able to match their physicality and be able to try to return the favor a little bit, see if they like it and stop being so passive.”
Somehow, the Hawks remain confident after shooting worse than 43 percent for the fourth straight game.
“You better believe it,” said Hawks center Al Horford, who returned himself from a torn pectoral that kept had kept him out since Jan. 11. “We’re coming. We’re bringing it at home, so we’re looking forward to it.”