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Hawks 87, Celtics 86
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 9, 2012 @ 10:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
ATLANTA — Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Joe Johnson have been together since 2008 through good and bad times. The Atlanta Hawks stalwarts have been lampooned nationally and questioned by local media and fans, a lot of whom think it’s time for the team’s core to be broken up.
However, with a 87-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the group will live to fight for at least another game.
The Hawks sliced the Celtics’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Game 6 will be played Thursday in Boston. Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Atlanta on Saturday.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had a chance to close out the Hawks in the final seconds when he stole the ball from Smith on an inbounds play, but Rondo was unable to get off a shot.
Atlanta center Horford, in only his second game back from a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the first month of the regular season, scored a game-high 19 points and added 11 rebounds. Smith had 13 points and 16 boards for the Hawks.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had 16 points apiece for Boston, while Rondo had 13 points and 12 assists.
Each team had five players score in double digits.
Atlanta took a 12-point lead in the third quarter, paced by nine points from Horford. But just as it appeared the Hawks would cruise to a win, Rondo scored six points and dished out four assists to keep the Celtics within two.
Boston started the first quarter on an 11-3 run, punctuated by a driving layup by Brandon Bass. The Celtics took advantage of a slow start from nearly every Hawk not named Jeff Teague. Atlanta was able to get back into game with five points in the first from its point guard.
Teague nearly singlehandedly kept the Hawks close until a sequence that included a missed dunk attempt by Josh Smith, followed by a block by Boston’s Greg Stiemsma, which resulted in a basket by Ray Allen to give the Celtics a four-point swing.
Atlanta shot 29 percent in the first quarter, but the second was different. The Hawks found their 3-point range which had eluding them the entire series. Williams hit two critical 3-pointers, and Johnson followed with one to bring the Hawks into a 37-37 tie. Teague then come through with a 3-pointer to give the Hawks their first lead since Game 3 in Boston.
However, Rondo hit a 3-pointer to close the half at 40-40, the same way Garnett hit a big basket to close the first quarter and quiet a Hawks run.
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