NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Boston
(Sunday, March 2nd)
Final Score: Boston 98, Atlanta 88
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce netted 30 points and Kevin Garnett had a strong performance with 20 points and 16 rebounds in Boston's 98-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Ray Allen totaled 17 points, and Kendrick Perkins added 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists before fouling out for the Celtics, winners of five in a row.
"I just tried to play within the flow of the game, you know let the game come to me," Pierce said. "I thought in the second half I just wanted to be a little more aggressive than I was. Saw an opportunity, guys were finding me, setting up the screens and I took advantage of the opportunity."
Josh Smith had 22 points and nine rebounds to pace the Hawks, who had a two- game win streak broken. Al Horford chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds in defeat, Atlanta's 10th in its last 11 road games.
"We are struggling on the road," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "That has been a given this season. We have been in some games on the road just like tonight. The effort was tremendous I thought until the third and fourth quarter. The middle of the third, and on into the fourth quarter we just didn't have a defensive presence, and in this league that is what wins games I think."
A Josh Childress dunk had the Hawks within 78-74 with 7:25 remaining, but Garnett countered with a pair of baskets, including a jam to expand Boston's lead to eight points with 6:17 to go.
The Hawks couldn't get closer than five the rest of the way. Horford's fadeaway jumper made it 88-83 inside of three minutes, but Allen nailed a jumper to start an 8-2 run.
Mike Bibby had 14 points and nine assists for Atlanta, which also got 12 points from Childress. The Hawks shot just 39.5 percent from the field, including a paltry 3-of-16 from three-point range.
Boston led by as many as eight in the opening period and held a 26-22 edge going into the second quarter. The Hawks scored 12 in a row in the second to grab a 40-34 lead with Smith's layup capping the spurt with 3:23 remaining. The Celtics were behind 44-41 at the half.
A run of 13 unanswered points gave the Celtics a 54-46 lead with under nine minutes left in the third. Allen and Pierce accounted for all the scoring. Allen started with a pair of three-pointers, and Pierce capped the flurry with another shot from beyond the arc. It was 70-67 Celtics going into the fourth.
Boston's next game is Wednesday at home against the Pistons in a matchup of the teams with the best records in the Eastern Conference...Atlanta hosts Golden State on Tuesday...The Celtics have beaten the Hawks in three of the last four meetings.
03/02 22:08:39 ET