First impressions: Hawks 102, Celtics 96
BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Atlanta Hawks posted a 102-96 triumph over the Boston Celtics on Monday night at TD Garden:
How the game was won: Celtics-killers Jamal Crawford scored the final six points of the game as the Hawks rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit for their second victory over Boston in four days. Crawford finished with 17 points, while former Celtics first-round pick Joe Johnson tossed in a game-high 36 points. Rajon Rondo paced Boston with 26 points and 7 assists.
Turning point: The Celtics boasted a double-digit lead before a meltdown on the Boston bench let Atlanta back into the game. Coach Doc Rivers was ejected after vehemently arguing a flagrant foul call against Glen Davis; assistant coach Armond Hill also got tagged with a technical. The Hawks ultimately attempted five technical free throws, making four, to slice a 10-point deficit to 67-61 with 6:16 to play in the third quarter.
Stat of the game: The Hawks shot 33 free throws (compared to Boston's 15) and the Garden faithful let the refs know what they thought of the officiating throughout the night.
Unsung hero: Atlanta center Al Horford logged 41 minutes and finished with a game-best plus-24 in the plus-minus category. A staggering stat in a six-point game.
What it means: The Hawks have won all three meetings against the Celtics this season, including two in Boston. The Celtics were in complete control until the third-quarter meltdown. Johnson -- who was traded in his rookie season for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers -- absolutely torched his former team, while Boston has had no answer for Crawford.
Play Podcast Karl Ravech and Justin Havens put Clayton Kershaw's scoreless innings streak in perspective with Buster Olney and discuss the rash of injuries around MLB. Plus, Derrick Goold on Yadier Molina's injury and Alex Speier on the Red Sox.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian discuss the rosters for the Home Run Derby, Jon Lester's future and more. Plus, Indians P Corey Kluber on his All-Star candidacy and Tigers P Joba Chamberlain.