Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett (5) reacts after making a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at TD Garden. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)
Celtics taken to OT before downing Hawks
Back on Jan. 25, the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 27 down and beat the Boston Celtics in double overtime.
Friday night, the Hawks again came back, this time from 12 down with six-and-a-half minutes left, but the Celtics, getting huge play from Paul Pierce and the last five points in overtime from Jason Terry, downed the visitors 107-102 for their fifth win in a row.
The win, Boston's ninth straight at home, was also Boston's 14th in 18 games since losing Rajon Rondo for the season to a knee injury. The win also pulled the Celtics into a tie with the Hawks for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams are 34-27, a half-game behind fifth-place Chicago.
Pierce, who had 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, scored five points in the OT, but it was his drive to the basket and kick-out to Terry that resulted in Terry hitting a 3-pointer with 1:05 left to break a 102-102 tie.
After an Atlanta turnover, Terry, who had 19 points off the bench, was fouled in the act with 9.9 seconds left and put the game on ice with two free throws. For good measure, Terry also grabbed the rebound of an Al Horford miss in the closing seconds.
Kevin Garnett had 17 points and eight rebounds as the Celtics, who eliminated Atlanta in the first round of last year's playoffs, overcame 32 points, nine assists and eight rebounds by Josh Smith. Horford delivered 22 points and 13 rebounds and Jeff Teague 26 points and nine assists.
Kyle Korver, leading the league in 3-point percentage, stung the Celtics with eight 3s the last time the teams played. In this game he was just 1-for-5 from the floor, but did hit a tying 3-pointer late in regulation.
Jeff Green had 11 points for the Celtics, including a 3-pointer from the left corner in overtime that hit the rim, bounced up and dropped through, giving Boston a one-point lead after the Hawks scored the first four points of the extra period.
The Boston bench outscored its Atlanta counterpart 46-8 as the Celtics took a 2-1 lead in the season series.
NOTES: With Zaza Pachulia (Achilles, missed third straight game) and Ivan Johnson (personal reasons) out, the Hawks gave 7-footer Johan Petro his first start of the season. Swingman DeShawn Stevenson, a veteran in his 13th NBA season, got the night off so he can guard Brooklyn's Joe Johnson in the second game of Atlanta's back-to-back at home Saturday. ... You can count Garnett among those not surprised by his team's play since losing Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa for the season. "People who wrote us off didn't know really who we are," he told the Boston Globe. "I think half the journalists out there don't even watch basketball. They just talk. I really don't know what it is, we really don't care. Right now we're focused on what we're trying to do in here." ... Garnett, who hit his first 3-pointer of the season at Indiana Wednesday night, hit another one in the first quarter Friday. ... The Celtics open another two-game trip at Oklahoma City Sunday. ... Garnett, who just cracked the NBA's all-time rebounding top 10 (the achievement was recognized during the first timeout Friday), needed 36 points to pass Jerry West for 15th place on the all-time scoring list. Pierce needed 58 points to pass Sir Charles Barley and hit the NBA's all-time top 20. ... The bigger-than-expected snowstorm wasn't bad enough to keep the crowd size down significantly