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Hawks cling to 8th seed, welcome Boston to town
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks failed to build a cushion in the Eastern Conference playoff race last time out and kept the door open for the New York Knicks.
The Hawks dropped a 102-95 decision to the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night and now have a 1 1/2-game lead on the Knicks for the East's eighth seed. The Knicks were off Tuesday and don't play until Friday at Toronto.
Atlanta, which will host the Boston Celtics Wednesday, has five games remaining on the schedule and went toe-to-toe with the Pistons, who received a combined 69 points from Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and Andre Drummond. The Hawks were led by Paul Millsap's 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Jeff Teague scored 15 points.
The Hawks shot 38 percent and were outrebounded 53-48. Detroit led 35-27 after the first quarter and the Hawks won the next two quarters. A 21-17 difference in the fourth stanza sent the Hawks to their eighth loss in 11 games.
"We didn't come out with the intensity that we should have," said Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who made four 3-pointers for 12 points.
Atlanta has Brooklyn, Miami and Charlotte -- all playoff teams -- on the horizon before a regular-season finale at Milwaukee.
The Celtics have struggled on the road this season as evidenced by their 8-30 mark and are winless in the past 12 games as the visitor. They haven't lost 13 in a row on the road in a single season since 1979.
Boston last won on the road Feb. 10 at Milwaukee and its only wins over the past 15 road games have come against the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. It has lost eight in a row overall and 13 of the past 14 games, including Saturday's 115-111 setback at Detroit.
The game was a battle for three quarters, then the Celtics folded in the fourth stanza and were outscored 30-16. Jerryd Bayless led the Celtics with 25 points, Jeff Green added 23 and Jared Sullinger recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which shot a respectable 48 percent and made 14-of-31 from 3-point territory.
"I thought we let off the gas defensively a couple of times and all of a sudden, instead of a 19-point game, it's a 13- or 12-point game," Boston head coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens could be down a few men Wednesday. Guard Avery Bradley (Achilles) and forwards Kris Humphries (knee) and Sullinger (quadriceps) are questionable.
Boston has defeated Atlanta twice in three attempts this season and is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings between the teams.
04/09 10:07:10 ET
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