Atlanta 104, Boston 96

ATLANTA, April 10 (AP) -- Coach Mike Woodson wishes Tyronn Lue could've played this season without nagging injuries.

A strained groin and a sore left hamstring cost Lue 24 games during the Atlanta Hawks' third straight losing season under Woodson.

"Lue is starting to move like the Lue of old again,'' Woodson said. "He's getting his legs back under him after being out so long.''

Lue scored 26 points with 10 assists, and Zaza Pachulia had 22 points and 12 rebounds to help Atlanta beat the Boston Celtics 104-96 on Tuesday night.

Gerald Green's career-high 33 points led Boston, which has lost five straight on the road and 16 of 19. Overall, the Celtics have a four-game losing streak.

A poor fourth quarter doused Green's mood after he went just 2-of-7 from the field.

"I needed to get fouled or score,'' Green said. "I was settling for jumpers when I should have been a little more aggressive in going to the hole.''

The Hawks, who had dropped eight of nine, were without their top three leading scorers after Josh Smith earned a two-game suspension for arguing with Woodson in an overtime loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.

Atlanta shot a season-best 60.3 percent from the field. In the fourth, the Hawks were 11-of-15, with Lue going 5-of-5.

Lue had eight straight points during the midway stretch of the fourth quarter and ended the scoring for Atlanta with a 3-pointer that matched the Hawks' biggest lead at 11.

"This definitely feels good,'' Lue said. "The team had confidence in me to make big shots. I was able to get some open looks.''

Boston also didn't have its top three scorers as Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson and Wally Szczerbiak all missed the game with injuries.

Green hit a 3-pointer at the 4:55 mark of the second quarter to match Boston's biggest lead at 13, but Pachulia's 16-footer ended a 28-14 run to give the Hawks a 64-63 lead with 8:07 left in the third.

"We got something out of this, but obviously we didn't get a win out of it,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We were trying to get something out of Gerald Green. We basically made him our go-to guy tonight.''

Leon Powe had 19 points and Rajon Rondo 16 as the Celtics fell to 23-54, worst in the Eastern Conference.

"In the first half, we came out aggressive and got fast breaks, but they came out in the second half and did the same thing to us,'' Rondo said. "Down the stretch, they executed better, but games like this build confidence for young guys, including myself.''

Marvin Williams scored 21 points for Atlanta, which has the third-worst record in the East at 29-49.

"I think the guys came together, and we were able to put together some stops on the defensive end,'' Williams said. "Guys like Tyronn and Royal (Ivey) came in and made big shots. I think everybody is stepping up to play. With Tyronn out there, he's always going to be a leader, but I feel like I can help out a little bit, too.''

Notes: Green's previous career high came March 16, when he had 25 at Dallas. He began the night with a 10.1 average. ... Atlanta expects Smith, who averages 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and an NBA second-best 2.9 blocks, to return to the lineup on Saturday at Cleveland. ... The Hawks are 10-10 without G Joe Johnson, whose 25-point average is their highest since Dominique Wilkins had 29.9 in 1992-93, his last full season with Atlanta. ... Boston dropped to 3-22 when opponents shoot 50 percent or better from the field.


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