The Atlanta Hawks flew into TD Garden on Friday night for a rematch with the Boston Celtics. They needed overtime to decide things, but the C's came away 107-102 victors, thanks to some heroics from Jason Terry.
These two teams have been kindling a rivalry lately. Last year, Boston bounced Atlanta from the first round of the playoffs in a hard-fought six-game series.
Then, when they met on January 25, Rajon Rondo tore his ACL during a double-overtime loss, so the C's surely sought to exact a measure of revenge.
In familiar fashion, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett led the way for Boston, with 27 and 17, respectively; Jason Terry spurred the Celtics to a huge advantage in bench scoring.
For Atlanta, Josh Smith had a game-high 32 points and flirted with a triple-double (eight rebounds, nine assists). Al Horford posted 22 and 13, while Jeff Teague scored 26 points with nine assists.
After Boston led by 10 points in the second quarter, Atlanta fought back and managed to tie it prior to the half.
Even though the Celtics outshot the Hawks in the first half (58.8 to 42.5 percent), they only held a five-point advantage. Atlanta attempted six more field goals than Boston through two quarters, partly due to their superiority on the offensive glass (four to one) and in the turnover battle (five to nine).
The Celtics' 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter stretched the lead to 12, but Boston was unable to hold off a late rally by the Hawks. Smith had a look at the game-winner for Atlanta, but his 10-footer was way off as the buzzer ended regulation.
All the Celtics needed in OT were a couple of big three-pointers from Pierce and Terry, and they went home winners of five straight games. Boston has been playing excellent ball at home, posting a 21-9 record entering Friday.
Atlanta had been 34-26, just a half-game behind the Brooklyn Nets for fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
But the Hawks are part of a logjam, with just one game separating them from the seventh-place Boston Celtics. Now they're all even.