Davis, Pierce Rally Celtics Past Hawks
Boston 98, Atlanta 94
ATLANTA, Jan. 10 (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics were on their way to a third loss to the Atlanta Hawks before being rescued by Ricky Davis.
Davis scored eight of his 21 points in the final four minutes as the Celtics scrambled for a 98-94 victory over the Hawks to snap their three-game slide.
"They beat us twice," Davis said. "They've played us really good. (Tonight), guys just sucked it up and got stops."
The Hawks ended a season-opening nine-game losing streak by beating the Celtics here on November 23 and used a strong second half for a win in Boston on Friday. They appeared to be on their way to another win as they rode red-hot shooting to a 60-44 lead late in the first half.
Atlanta cooled off but still led by eight points with 5:20 left before Boston began its rally. Brian Scalabrine made a layup and Davis drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 90-87 with 3:59 to play.
"I'm just sitting on the wing (waiting for the ball)," Davis said. "They had matchup problems. We used big draws and kicked it out and found the open man.
Pierce made a reverse layup, Mark Blount sank two free throws and Davis got behind the defense for a fast-break layup, drawing a foul. His free throw gave Boston a 94-92 lead with 1:40 remaining.
Scalabrine added a big basket, tapping home Pierce's missed 3-pointer with 56 seconds left.
"(Pierce) was guarded on his elbow," Scalabrine said. "Paul had nowhere to go and the clock shot was running down. I had to take advantage of crashing the glass. The ball came my way. I was fortunate."
Tyronn Lue made a layup and Atlanta had a chance to tie after Pierce traveled. But Joe Johnson missed a jumper and Al Harrington was called for a charge. Atlanta's top two scorers combined for zero points in the final period.
Davis sealed it with two free throws with 5.6 seconds to play.
"We took a couple steps backwards," Harrington said. "The last couple of games we were focused in the fourth quarter and pretty much could get the job done. Tonight, we didn't do that."
Blount scored 15 points off the bench for Boston, which shot 52 percent (38-of-73) from the field. Scalabrine was the 12th Celtic off the bench but played 28 minutes.
"In the NBA, it's your job to be prepared," said Scalabrine, who was averaging just eight minutes per game prior to Tuesday. "This whole thing is not about getting numbers, but winning basketball games."
Zaza Pachulia scored 18 points for the Hawks, who shot 45 percent (36-of-80) and were denied their first three-game winning streak since April 9-12, 2004.
After its hot start, Atlanta continued to settle for jumpers. Boston ended the first half with a 9-0 surge to close to 62-53 and inched within 76-74 on two free throws by Tony Allen with 2:27 left in the third period.
"We got complacent," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "That's what happens in games like this. We did everything to get the lead right away by sharing the ball, cutting and setting screens. But when they stiffened up their defense, we just settled."
Boston avoided being swept by Atlanta for the first time since the 1998-1999 season, the last time the Hawks made the playoffs.