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NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Boston



(Wednesday, November 12th)

Final Score: Boston 103, Atlanta 102

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce hit a fade-away jumper with 0.5 seconds to play and scored 34 points, including 23 in the second half, leading the Boston Celtics to a 103-102 victory over the Hawks, handing Atlanta its first loss of the season.

"Once I went right, I had the big guy on me. I sort of got to my sweet spot and I felt good the whole time," Pierce said of the final shot. "The play was to get the ball to Kevin (Garnett), and if they switched off, either hand off, or he would take the drive down the lane. But they switched and put Horford on me, and I knew I could get to my spot. I got to it and thank God, it went in."

Down 99-97 with under a minute to go, a defensive stop gave Atlanta a chance to tie. Joe Johnson hit a floating jump shot over Pierce to tie the game at 99 with 29.4 seconds to play. Pierce drove to the basket on the next possession and was fouled by Johnson with 21.1 seconds on the clock.

Pierce hit both free throws, but Johnson drove to the basket and dished it to Marvin Williams, who hit a three-pointer from the corner with 7.4 seconds left to give the Hawks a 102-101 lead.

But Pierce took a pass and hit a fade-away jumper from just inside the three- point line with 0.5 seconds left. A desperation pass for the Hawks was unsuccessful, sealing the win for the Celtics.

"At that point you want to man up and play one-on-one," Horford said of the final play, in which Pierce made the final shot over him. "I tried to follow him and play the best defense I could. He hit a good shot."

The game marked the first time the two teams met since the first round of the 2007-08 playoffs, when the Celtics outlasted the Hawks in seven games, a series in which the home team took every contest. Boston eventually won the NBA title over the Lakers in six games.

Pierce shot 8-of-14 from the floor and 15-of-16 from the free throw line to lead Boston, which has won six in a row. Garnett added 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Ray Allen had 17 points despite shooting 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.

"Overall, I just thought it was a good win for us," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "And another win where we didn't play great, but we're still winning games. And that is a good sign, not a bad sign."

Johnson had a team-high 28 points and seven assists for the Hawks, who were off to their best start since winning the first 11 games of the 1997-98 season. Mike Bibby added 16 points, and Williams had 14 points in Atlanta's first defeat in seven games this season.

"I thought, early on, we controlled the post and then made the big run to go up 16," Hawks head coach Mike Woodson said. "They came right back and made their run. You've got to give them credit, that?s what champions do. The third and fourth quarter was just back and forth, nobody wanted to give an inch, (and) they just made the great play at the end to secure the win."

Eddie House and Maurice Evans traded three-pointers to start the fourth, and Pierce hit a couple free throws to give Boston an 81-80 lead in the first couple minutes. Johnson's three with 9:38 to go gave Atlanta a two-point edge, but Boston scored the next five points to go back up 86-83.

Allen had two chances on wide-open three pointers to put the Celtics up six but missed on both attempts. Evans came back with a long distance shot with 5:27 left to tie the game at 88.

Garnett hit a jumper and followed with an emphatic dunk to give Boston its biggest lead at 92-88 with 3:32 to go. Bibby hit a couple free throws to climb to within two, and Rajon Rondo and Johnson each hit a three to make it a 96-95 Celtics lead with just under two minutes to go.

Pierce followed with a drive past Evans for a layup and a three-point play with the free throw, restoring a four-point advantage with 1:37 left. An offensive goaltending call against Al Horford negated a possible basket on the Hawks next possession, but Johnson sank two free throws to make it 99-97 with 1:01 left.

Thanks to Flip Murray's nine first-quarter points off the bench, the Hawks held a seven-point advantage after the opening period. Murray started the second with an old fashioned three-point play to open a 10-point lead, as Atlanta started the quarter on a 13-4 run.

Johnson's basket with seven minutes left in the half gave the Hawks a commanding 44-28 advantage, but the Celtics came roaring back. Allen's three sparked a 22-6 burst that tied the game at 50. Allen had eight points during the run, and Pierce had seven to send the game into the break tied, 51-51.

The teams went back-and-forth in the third quarter, as there were 10 ties and 12 lead changes. Pierce scored 12, while Garnett contributed 10 to lead the Celtics; Johnson had 10, and Bibby scored eight to pace the Hawks, who led 77-76 going into the final quarter.

Game Notes

Boston swept the season series, 3-0, between the two clubs last season...Johnson shot 9-of-23 from the field...No Atlanta player had more than five rebounds, and the Celtics outrebounded the Hawks, 43-32...Rondo had 10 assists...Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder in the second quarter and left the game. He is listed as day-to-day.

11/13 01:10:22 ET


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