THE FACTS: Paul Pierce had 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, as the Boston Celtics held off a late rally from the Atlanta Hawks to escape with a 107-102 overtime win. The victory was the ninth consecutive win for Boston at the TD Garden, though it came with plenty of drama. The Celtics lost a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, thanks to some stellar play from Josh Smith (32 points) and Jeff Teague (26 points). The Hawks missed a chance to win at the end of regulation, and the C's regained command in overtime behind an 8-1 run to close out the game, earning Boston their fourth straight win overall.
QUOTABLE: "We're working hard, we're grinding. We're showing our character. Our coaches are grinding themselves, and this team is just that. Were not looking for any handouts or sympathies or anything like that. We don't expect anyone to give us nothing. We're going out, working hard and earning everything we're getting."
-- Kevin Garnett
THE STAT: The Celtics played their 11th overtime game of the season, as well as their 16th overtime period of the year. Both of those are new franchise records for the team. With the victory, the Celtics improved to 7-4 in overtime games this season.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied at 102 and under a minute remaining in overtime, Pierce drove baseline against Smith, drawing a large crowd of Hawks defenders under the basket. With the added attention, Pierce made a smart dish to Jason Terry at the top of the key, and the clutch guard hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 35 seconds left.
QUOTABLE II: "I thought the thing [Terry] did better than anything was he guarded [Kyle] Korver, you know? And he was like glue; he just stayed on him, took away his shots. I think Korver ended up getting the one three; I just thought overall his defense was huge for us tonight."
-- Boston coach Doc Rivers on Terry.
HOT: Pierce -- The Hawks had no answer for Boston's captain early, as the 11-time All-Star was firing on all cylinders out of the gate. Pierce hits four of his five shots in the opening frame and finished with 11 points in the quarter.
NOT: Kyle Korver -- After lighting up the Celtics in their last head-to-head matchup on January 25th for eight 3-pointers, the sharpshooter was unable to regain that rhythm in Boston. Korver missed four of his shot attempts and managed to score just three points over 38 minutes.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Smith -- With Atlanta short-handed in the frontcourt, Smith rose to the challenge, logging heavy minutes for Larry Drew and doing a little bit of everything. The forward finished just shy of a triple-double, with a season-high 32 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and a pair of steals.
ROOKIE WATCH: John Jenkins -- The shooting guard out of Vanderbilt had a quiet night for the Hawks, going scoreless over eight minutes of action.
INSIDE THE ARENA: New England Patriots' star tight end Rob Gronkowski watched the contest from courtside at the TD Garden.
QUOTABLE III: "I think the story of the game for us was turnovers down the stretch. I think that they just killed us. We can't turn the ball over. We have got to get a shot every time."
-- Al Horford
NOTABLE: Garnett passed Wes Unseld to reach 10th place on the all-time NBA rebounding list. Zaza Pachuila (achilles), Ivan Johnson (personal reasons) and DeShawn Stevenson (rest) all missed Friday's contest. Johan Petro made his first start of the season tonight at center at center. The veteran big man scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes. Atlanta has now lost four straight road games. The Celtics improved to 16-7 this season without Rajon Rondo, including a 10-0 mark at home.
UP NEXT: For Atlanta, Saturday vs. Brooklyn, Tuesday @ Miami, Wednesday vs. LA Lakers. For Boston, Sunday @ Oklahoma City, Tuesday @ Charlotte, Wednesday vs. Toronto.