Drew: Loss wasn’t a Statement Game
The Celtics (34-24), who won their fourth straight, hold the fourth spot in the conference with their Atlantic Division lead. Wednesday’s victory was their ninth win in the past 11 games and improved their record to 19-7 since the All-Star break. They are also 12-1 against the Southeast Division this season.
Hawks coach Larry Drew didn’t want to put added significance on the game.
“It could be potentially a playoff matchup, but I wouldn’t classify it as a statement game,” Drew said before the game. “As we wind down these last regular-season games, and certainly every game has importance. … At this stage, I wouldn’t call it a statement game. I would say, though, it is a game of importance. It is a game where I want to see our guys accept this challenge.”
The Celtics shot a blistering 68.4 percent from the field (13-for-19) in the first quarter. However, they still needed a 10-2 run to end the period just to take a 26-25 lead, their first of the game. The final points came when (Brandon) Bass dunked a Rajon Rondo missed layup.
The Hawks led by as many as nine points in the first quarter thanks to the early shooting of Josh (Smith) and (Jeff) Teague. They accounted for 19 of the team’s 25 points.