Celtics 89, Hawks 81
By Marc D'Amico, January 5, 2013

Key Moment

The world saw the real Boston Celtics play Friday night during a dominant win over the Pacers.

One night later, the fake Boston Celtics were on display during the first half of Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Thankfully, the true Boston Celtics returned in the third quarter of Saturday’s game as the team ran away with its second consecutive victory.

Boston trailed by 15 points at halftime, but then something clicked. When it returned to the floor for the second half it was as if a completely different team was wearing green and white.

Kevin Garnett began the second half with a fadeaway jumper to cut Atlanta’s lead down to 13 points. That lead would quickly disappear as the Celtics strung together a 14-1 run to begin the quarter.

One man accounted for most of the points during that run and his name was Paul Pierce. Pierce scored eight of Boston’s 14 points off of a variety of moves during that stretch. He hit everything from fadeaways to 3-pointers to driving reverse layups while being fouled. He was simply dominant. Garnett and Rajon Rondo, who scored the final four points of the run, accounted for the other six Boston points during the run.

While the Celtics were scoring at one end, they were intimidating the Hawks at the other end. Atlanta missed shot after shot and committed several turnovers as it timidly walked through its offense.

Before anyone knew it, Atlanta’s 15-point halftime lead was all the way down to two just four minutes and 30 seconds into the second half. The Celtics still trailed at that point but there was no confusion as to where this game was heading. It was on its way right into Boston’s win column. The C’s dominated the entire second half and went on to win the game by a count of 89-81.

Key Box Score Line

Paul Pierce accomplished a very rare feat Saturday night: he outshined a triple-double. Rajon Rondo notched his second triple-double of the season but Pierce was the man who won this game for the Celtics. He was a dominant offensive force and the C’s rode him in the second half.

Pierce had scored just nine points on 2-of-9 shooting over the first 24 minutes of the game. He was a whole lot better than that over the final two quarters, as he notched 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the second half. Pierce finished the contest with a team-high 26 points and accounted for nine of Boston’s 12 free throw attempts.

There were times when Pierce literally seemed unstoppable. He was hitting turnaround, fadeaway shots over defenders. He was blowing by defenders, absorbing contact at the rim and finishing. Also, per usual, he was canning shots from behind the 3-point arc. The Celtics played phenomenal defense in the second half, but they probably wouldn’t have won this game without the pure genius of Pierce’s offense.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Atlanta scored 52 points in the first half but just 28 in the second half.
  • Lou Williams scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the first quarter.
  • Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points and also grabbed nine rebounds.
  • Atlanta shot 41.2 percent just one night after shooting 41.3 percent in Detroit.
  • Boston outrebounded Atlanta 44-36.
  • Rajon Rondo notched a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
  • Rondo's 11 rebounds and 10 assists both led the game.
  • The Celtics committed just 13 turnovers.
  • Williams scored a game-high 28 points.
  • The Celtics (16) grabbed twice as many offensive rebounds as the Hawks (eight), but scored two less second-chance points (13) than Atlanta did (15).
  • Both teams led by at least 11 points at some point of the game.
  • Jared Sullinger gave another great effort with eight points and nine rebounds off of the bench.
  • Josh Smith shot 4-of-18 from the field en route to 12 points.
  • Each team had three players attempt at least 12 shots.

Quote of the Night

We're not a big team, but we have two guards in Avery (Bradley) and (Rajon) Rondo who can change the game with their ball pressure, and I thought they did that. Doc Rivers on the defense played by his starting backcourt