Hawks 100, Celtics 96
BOSTON (AP)—Although it took 51 games, the Atlanta Hawks finally have themselves a winning streak.
“It took longer than it probably should have,” said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who led the Hawks with 23 points in Friday night’s 100-96 victory over the Boston Celtics. “We hurt ourselves with turnovers but it was a win and a win on the road, so we’ll take it.”
With 12 seconds remaining, it wasn’t clear if the Celtics would give interim head coach John Carroll his first win or if the Hawks would have consecutive wins under their belt for the first time this season. With the Hawks leading 98-96, Celtics guard Ricky Davis drove the lane, but both of his shots were blocked—the first by Theo Ratliff, the second by Abdur-Rahim.
“Theo came up big tonight,” said Hawks forward Stephen Jackson, who added 22 points. “Theo clogged the paint and made them take tough shots.”
The Hawks, who turned the ball over 29 times, held a 15-point lead at halftime but watched it disappear in the fourth quarter as Mike James drained a 3-pointer for a 79-79 tie. Following a basket by Dion Glover, Walter McCarty hit a 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 82-81 lead—their first lead since the 3:44 mark of the second quarter.
“Anytime you make them turn the ball over 29 times, you should expect to come away with a win,” said Celtics guard Paul Pierce, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds.
After Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to give the Hawks a 97-92 lead, Pierce hit four throws to cut the Hawks’ lead to 97-96 with 17 seconds remaining.
Jackson missed the front end of a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining, giving the Celtics to tie or win the game in the final possession.
“It’s tough to blow a team out on the road,” Hawks coach Terry Stotts said. “They made a run like we expected, but we still competed and found a way.”
It was the Celtics’ sixth straight loss and their fifth in a row under Carroll, who took over on Jan. 27 when Jim O’Brien resigned.
Dion Glover added 16 points for the Hawks, while Jason Terry and Ratliff contributed 13 and 10, respectively. Ratliff added seven blocked shots.
James added 14 points and three other Celtics scored in double figures.
Jackson hit two 3-pointers in the last five seconds of the first half to close out a 16-0 run and give the Hawks a 58-43 halftime lead. The Hawks, who shot 63 percent from the field in the first half, were led by Jackson’s 17points.
Former Celtics guard Dana Barros was named to the Celtics’ staff to fill the void left by Carroll after O’Brien resigned . … Abdur-Rahim had his streak of 21 consecutive free throws made snapped in the first quarter when he missed two attempts. … Terry has recorded at least one steal in each of the past 13 games. The Hawks starting frontcourt outscored the Celtics startingfront three 32-4 in the first half.