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Hawks overcome 27-point deficit to beat Celtics in 2 OTs

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA - Kyle Korver played only 10:31 minutes in the first half Friday night at Philips Arena and had only three points, all of them free throws.

"I think," he said, "I just got mad."

So mad that he fired off eight 3-point baskets in the second half, an Atlanta Hawks' team record and a career-high for him, leading the Hawks to a 123-111 double overtime win over the Boston Celtics after they had trailed by as many as 27 points.

"As a coach or as a player in all the years I've played," Hawks coach Larry Drew said, "I think this was probably one of the most amazing comebacks I've ever been associated with."

The Celtics, who have lost six straight games, rammed it down the Hawks' throats in the first quarter, but the Hawks reeled off a 31-point third quarter.

"The first quarter, quarter and a half, was a clinic on how to play defense," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "And then we started breaking rules that you shouldn't break when you're in grade school. Our transition D was a joke."

Korver found his 3-point stroke in the third quarter. Then at 8:53 in the fourth quarter, his 24-foot jumper briefly put the Hawks ahead 80-77, their first lead since shortly after the opening tip. He finished with a season-high 27 points.

"I just know it was kind of a layup drill in the third quarter," Rajon Rondo said. "And then Korver got hot."

Al Horford had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Jeff Teague had 23 points. Josh Smith had two points, five rebounds and one technical foul in the first quarter, but finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 24 points and 10 rebounds, fouling out in the second overtime. Rondo had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his fifth triple-double of the season. Avery Bradley scored 14 points; Paul Pierce had 12 points and six rebounds.

Jeff Green had 17 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Courtney Lee added 16 bench points and seven rebounds.

The Celtics (20-23) played Thursday night -- losing to the New York Knicks 89-86 -- and didn't get to Atlanta until 2:30 a.m. But the Hawks (25-18) were the ones who came out as though they were asleep. They missed 18 of 20 shots in the first quarter, shooting 17.4 percent to the Celtics' 55 percent, spotting the Celtics a 19-point lead, 29-10.

The Celtics built the lead to 27 points in the second half but the Hawks were able to trim the deficit to 16 points with 53 seconds left in the half, 54-38.

But then Josh Smith missed a 16-foot fade-away jumper and the half ended with the Celtics up 57-38.

The Hawks had only six fast-break points in the first half but finished the game with 34.

"We're still a confident ball club." Pierce said. "We haven't broken by any means. There's no pointing of fingers; that's something you don't see in this locker room. So long as we can continue to do that, we'll get this thing turned around."

NOTES: Al Horford (sore left calf) and Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) were both available for the game; neither one traveled to Charlotte for Wednesday's 104-92 win over the Bobcats. Nevertheless, Drew gave Ivan Johnson his second straight NBA start, at center. "He has a presence when he's in the game," Drew said, "and I want to ride his energy. Horford started at the 4 position and Smith started at the 3. ... Drew started Korver over Devin Harris because of Korver's shooting ability, but acknowledged he was giving up Harris's speed by doing that. ... Drew called it "unfortunate" that Smith was not selected to the All-Star game. "I think he's having a phenomenal year. And I've said it before: Few players in the league can impact the game on both ends of the floor the way he can. He can defend all five positions. I've put him in a position where he had to defend all five positions in one game." ... The Hawks travel to New York to play the Knicks on Sunday while the Celtics will host the Miami Heat.

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