First Impressions: Hawks 100, Celtics 91
BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Atlanta Hawks posted a 100-91 triumph over the Boston Celtics Friday night at Philips Arena:
How the game was won: Celtics killer Jamal Crawford lived up to the reputation that he's built the previous three meetings this season, pouring in an Atlanta-best 28 points on 9 of 16 shooting off the bench to lift the Hawks to a four-game season sweep of the Celtics. Crawford had been averaging 18 points per game against Boston this season and had that at the intermission. Celtics captain Paul Pierce did about all he could for Boston, pouring in a game-high 35 points on 11 of 15 shooting.
Turning point: Clinging to a one-point lead with little more than nine minutes to go, Joe Johnson scored seven straight points in about 90 seconds to stretch Atlanta's lead to 85-77 with 7:30 to play. Later, with Boston hanging around, Crawford banked one off the glass and drew a foul to put the Hawks on top, 92-81, with 3:26 to go.
Stat of the game: A pair for your consideration: 1) Boston's starters not named Pierce combined to 14 of 41 for 38 points, and 2) The Celtics connected on 17 of 18 free throws in the third quarter to rally from 12 down to make it a one-point game heading to the fourth frame.
Unsung hero: Zaza Pachulia connected on 4 of 5 shots over 13 minutes, 43 seconds of playing time, finishing with a plus-10 overall, which was second in plus/minus on the team behind Crawford (plus-20).
What it means: Having dropped back-to-back games to open this grueling stretch, the Celtics slip to third in the Eastern Conference behind the Hawks. No rest for the weary, either, as the Lakers come to town Sunday.
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