The Hawks fell short in Boston despite coming back from a 12 point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
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The Hawks were able to comeback from 12 points down in the fourth quarter in Boston behind strong efforts from Josh Smith and Jeff Teague, but too many defensive lapses in the overtime period cost the Hawks what would have been a big victory. Josh Smith scored 32 points to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds and Jeff Teague had 26 points and nine assists in the game, and both played extremely aggressive in the fourth quarter.
Atlanta trailed by four entering the fourth quarter and were down 12 midway through. Teague and Smith picked up their aggressiveness and began attacking the paint to bring the Hawks back. Smith had eight points, all of which coming in the restricted area, along with three assists in the fourth quarter, while Teague had six points and accelerated the Hawks offense by pushing the ball inside to force the Celtics to collapse and rotate.
A Josh Smith three-pointer (yeah) gave the Hawks a 101-99 lead with 2:14 to play in the overtime. The Hawks would score just one more point (a Smoove free throw) and had too many breakdowns down the stretch to pull out the win. Paul Pierce answered Smith with a long contested three, but the dagger came from Jason Terry (he struggled mightily all game) who nailed a three over a late-closing Kyle Korver to give the Celtics the lead for good at 105-102.
Much like many of the Hawks' losses this season, inconsistencies and lapses in energy cost them this game. Atlanta, playing with just 10 players, looked tired at times (especially in overtime) and they were unable to rotate quick enough when they doubled Pierce to contest Celtics' jump-shooters who shot 10-for-20 from three-point range on the night. The Hawks had to double Pierce much of the overtime because the Celtics did well to get Pierce mismatches running him off of screens to force switches. Pierce finished the night with 27 points, seven boards, and seven assists.
The Hawks and Celtics are now tied in the standings, with the Celtics currently holding the 2-1 advantage head-to-head. Atlanta will return to Boston late in the year in a game that will undoubtedly have huge playoff seeding ramifications.