Hawks vs. Celtics - Recap
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Boston Celtics 123-111 in double-overtime at home at Philips Arena. This was the second of four meetings between these two teams this season. This was also the first game of a stretch of three meetings with Atlantic Division opponents for the Hawks. With the win, the Hawks improved to 25-18 on the season and 1-1 in the regular season series with the Celtics. The starters for the Hawks were Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver in the backcourt, Josh Smith and Ivan Johnson at the two forward positions, and Al Horford at center. Anthony Morrow (sore lower back) did not dress. Louis Williams (torn ACL, right knee) was not with the team. Johan Petro and Anthony Tolliver received DNP-CDs. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Kyle Korver, with a game-high 27 points. He hit a career-high eight three-pointers (all eight of them coming in the second half, setting a franchise record for three-point field-goals made in a half) and grabbed six boards. Al Horford added a double-double, with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Jeff Teague contributed 23 points and seven assists before fouling out in the first overtime. Josh Smith had a double-double, with 17 points, 14 boards, and seven assists. Devin Harris scored 14 points off the bench in his first game back after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. Ivan Johnson scored 11 points in his second-career start. In the first quarter, it looked like a Boston Celtics fan had come into the arena before the game and tightened the rim on the Hawks' end of the court. The Hawks shot 4/23 from the field in the first quarter, and they trailed 29-10 after one. In the second quarter, Jeff Teague scored 14 points for the Hawks, but the Celtics continued to score almost at will, extending their lead to 27 before the Hawks got back within 19 at the break. In the third quarter, a couple of hustle plays from Devin Harris sparked a 19-0 run (21-2 overall) by the Hawks that tied the game at 59. The Celtics got back up by four heading into the final frame, but it was clear to anyone watching that the Hawks had completely flipped the script. In the fourth quarter, the Celtics extended their lead to 10 with 4:44 remaining in regulation. However, the Hawks responded with a 14-4 run featuring three three-pointers from Kyle Korver. With the Hawks down 98-96 with a minute to go, Al Horford sank two shots at the charity stripe to tie the game. With the score still knotted at 98 with 5.9 seconds left, the Celtics had the ball. Kyle Korver and Rajon Rondo got tied up, and a jump ball came into the hands of Al Horford. The Hawks took a timeout, and Coach Larry Drew drew up a play in which Josh Smith received the inbounds pass cutting to the basket. A foul that should've been there wasn't called by the refs, and the Highlight Factory crowd was treated to free basketball. In the first overtime, the Hawks and Celtics mostly traded baskets, and with the score tied at 107, Josh Smith blocked Paul Pierce's potentially game-winning shot, and the game was headed to a second overtime. In the second overtime, Al Horford pitched in with seven points, but the biggest thing that happened for the Hawks was that Kevin Garnett fouled out. You'd think that a veteran team like the Celtics wouldn't be affected by that, but that really shifted the momentum even further in the Hawks' favor, as the Hawks outscored the Celtics 13-4 from that point on to get the 12-point victory. I think that the key to this win for the Hawks was that they never gave up. A lot of teams would've just given up down 27 in the first half, but the Hawks kept fighting. From a statistical standpoint, a big factor in the Hawks' comeback was turnovers. They forced the Celtics to turn the ball over five times during their 21-2 run, and the Celtics turned the ball over 21 times over the course of the whole game (compared to 12 Hawks turnovers). Great win for the Hawks in a rematch of both their 2008 and 2012 Eastern Conference first round playoff series.