Hawks Beat Celtics, End Four-Game Slide
Atlanta 103, Boston 98
BOSTON, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks love playing the Boston Celtics when they are on a losing streak.
Al Harrington scored 28 points and Joe Johnson added 20 as the Hawks ended their four-game skid with a 103-98 triumph over the Celtics.
"Obviously a home game against Atlanta, you hope you can win," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who briefly left the game during the third quarter after feeling dizzy. "We're not playing well right now. It's frustrating to lose this game."
Atlanta made a blistering 11-of-19 shots from 3-point range. Harrington and Tyronn Lue had three apiece.
"Our past four games we've had leads going into the fourth quarter and then we let it slip out of our hands," said Harrington, who made 10-of-16 shots. "We were more focused and more conscious of the things that we had to do."
Ricky Davis' layup with 2:13 remaining gave the Celtics a 98-96 lead. Harrington scored on a layup and Johnson made a jumper to give the Hawks a 100-98 lead with just over one minute left.
"When the game is on the line, I'm always the one who wants to take the shot," said Johnson, who added five assists. "I took that upon myself. Josh (Smith) set a nice pick, I came off the pick and hit the jumper."
Johnson split a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left, giving Boston a chance to tie. But Paul Pierce missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key five seconds later, and Lue made two free throws to seal the victory.
"I got a good look," said Pierce, who made 9-of-19 shots. "I sort of rushed it. I didn't know how wide open I was."
Lue scored 15 points and Smith added 11 for the Hawks, who shot 49 percent (36-of-73) overall.
"When we win close games, everyone comes up big for us," said Lue, who scored all his points in the second half. "Everyone made big shots and came up with key stops and key rebounds."
Pierce and Delonte West scored 23 points apiece and Al Jefferson contributed 17 for Boston, which shot 47 percent (38-of-80) in its first home game following a 1-4 road trip.
"We just couldn't get stops down the stretch," Pierce said. "We allowed them to shoot the three. They really hurt us down the stretch the way they shot the three-pointer and we allowed offensive rebounds."
Atlanta pulled down 10 offensive rebounds, the biggest by Josh Childress off a missed layup by Harrington with 24 seconds left and the Hawks holding a two-point lead.
The Celtics held a 50-43 advantage at intermission, but the Hawks rallied for a 79-76 lead late in the third quarter before Pierce drained a shot from the arc as time expired.