Top 5 Atlanta Sports Rivalries: Number 5

Atlanta Hawks Versus the Boston Celtics

No, the Hawks will likely not make the list of Boston’s top rivalries, but the Celtics remain one of the most hated teams in Atlanta. The rivalry began when the Human Highlight Factory and company started facing off with the legendary Larry Bird in the playoffs. The two put together some of the most legendary combined playoffs performances of all-time. However, no matter how good Wilkins and the rest of the Hawks were, the Celtics managed to somehow find a way to win. Bird seemed to do that to everybody he played against, but the Hawks got to see the best of him.

The rivalry did not carry a lot of friction until the Hawks went back to the playoffs in 2008. The eight-seeded Hawks faced off against the Boston’s big three. The Hawks shocked Boston by winning all of their games at home and taking the series to 7 games, but once again the team from Atlanta fell short. The series was a physical battle and the Celtics went on to win the 2008 NBA Champioship. The teams met up again in a thrilling series in 2012, that saw the Celtics take the series in 6 games despite the heroic return of Al Horford. Since the Hawks moved to the city of Atlanta, the Celtics have knocked them out of the playoffs a remarkable 7 times, while the Hawks have yet to ever knock out the Celtics in the playoffs. It might be one of the most one-sided rivalries in sports, but a true Atlanta basketball fan knows how much to hate the Celtics.

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