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Celtics Battle Back, Beat Hawks

Ugly is probably the only way to describe the first half of the Celtics first visit to Philips Arena this season. The two teams combined to score 64 points making only 27 of 78 shots from the field. Each team went to the free throw line 4 times in the first 24 minutes.

What the game lacked in the first half, the two squads more than made up for it in the second. Ever since the Hawks won three from the Celtics in the playoffs a few years back, chipiness has become an integral part of the rivalry. And neither squad disappointed the expectations of the divided arena crowd.

A flagrant foul called on Celtics forward Brandon Bass followed by a thundering dunk by Hawks guard Jeff Teague over Ray Allen, that included a demonstrative yell, raised the level of physical play. Teague was whistled for his act but the mood of the game had already shifted. During the play, an errant elbow struck Hawks center Zaza Pachulia producing a bright red stream of blood down his face.

The Hawks led 47-40 when Pachulia headed to the locker room for treatment. Pachulia returned to start the fourth quarter only to find the lead had dwindled to 1. On the first points of the period Boston took the lead and never looked back.

Boston extended the lead to a high of 15 points with just under 3 minutes to play in the fourth. Over the next minute and 55 seconds the Hawks went on an 8-0 run drawing within 4 pts on a triple by Joe Johnson. As the game hung in the balance, the veteran leadership of the Celtics took over. A missed three point shot by Josh Smith and a pick of Joe Johnson’s pocket by Rajon Rondo erased 17 valuable seconds off the clock. In the final 24.0 seconds, the Celtics went to the line three times making good on 4 of 6 attempts.

Joe Johnson gave the Hawks life with a three to narrow the lead to 1. A quick foul sent Boston’s Ray Allen to the line where the nearly automatic guard calmly knocked down both freebies. Trailing by three the Hawks Teague launched the potentially game tying shot in front of Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. The shot hit nothing but the void behind the basket sinking the Hawks bid for a comeback.



Celtics 79 - Hawks 76

  • Elbow high as Celtics forward Kevin Garnett protects the ball from Hawks guard Jeff Teague and forward Josh Smith.

  • Celtics forward Paul Pierce absorbs the contact from Tracy McGrady in the lane.

  • Hawks forward Ivan Johnson draws the charge on Boston guard Rajon Rondo.

  • Tracy McGrady has his jumper blocked by Mikael Pietrus.

  • pic left: Greg Stiemsma rejects the layup from Jeff Teague. pic right: Zaza Pachulia knocks the ball away from Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.

  • pic left: Josh Smith lifts a shot over Brandon Bass. pic right: Mikael Pietrus lays the ball in over Josh Smith.

  • Celtics guard Ray Allen and Hawks center Zaza Pachulia exchange spirited words as referee Derek Richardson looks on.

  • Blood from an errant elbow streams down the face of Hawks center Zaza Pachulia.

  • Celtics fans Occupied Philips Arena en mass.

  • Jeff Teague gets his hand on the Rajon Rondo layup but gets whistled for the foul.

  • Pic Left: Paul Pierce wriggles free for an uncontested layup in the lane. Pic Right: Celtics center Greg Stiemsma lays the ball in over Hawks center Jason Collins

  • Celtics guard Ray Allen reacts to the contact on the drive through the lane.

  • Pic Left: Kevin Garnett fires up an off-balanced one-handed shot. Pic Right: Rajon Rondo challenges Zaza Pachulia with a running hook shot.

  • Rajon Rondo reaches through the legs of Joe Johnson for the steal.

  • Pic Left: Rajon Rondo tries to turn the corner on Jeff Teague. Pic Right: Kevin Garnett slams home the fastbreak opportunity.

  • Mikael Pietrus slams into the pick set by Zaza Pachulia.

  • Hip Hop group Travis Porter was on hand to sign fan autographs after the game.

  • Singer Keri Hilson was on hand to sign this happy fans autographs after the game.

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