First impressions: Hawks 102, Celtics 96

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
10:06
PM ET


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.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9