Crawford takes over as Celtics get by Hawks

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- As his team began to cut away at a fourth-quarter deficit, Boston guard Jordan Crawford began to aggressively ask for the ball. His teammates agreed and let coach Brad Stevens know they were on board with the strategy.
"After he made the first move, the guys came back to the huddle and said 'Let's keep it in his hands,'" Stevens said. "And that's usually a pretty good sign."
Crawford scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics erase a 12-point deficit and end their losing streak at six games with a 94-87 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
"We had a lot of guys that scored in the fourth quarter, but Jordan kind of sealed it for us," Stevens said. "Jordan really wanted the ball in those moments and I thought it was the best move to get it to him at that point."
Atlanta led 76-64 with 11:14 remaining but went cold from the field and watched Boston battle back to take the lead for good at 86-85 on a pair of free throws by forward Brandon Bass with 3:12 left.
"Our whole group struggled in the fourth quarter," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Give their defense credit. We had some good looks in the fourth quarter and didn't finish."
The Hawks were 5-for-23 from the field in the final quarter and made only 1 of 7 3-point tries. Boston fueled its rally by hitting 9 of 17 and making 11 of 14 free throws.
"They missed some shots they would ordinarily make," Stevens said. "Sometimes when you play with the lead it's hard to make those shots, especially when the lead is going down."
The Celtics (5-10) had six players, including all five starters, in double figures. Bass scored 17, guard Jeff Green scored 16 and forward Jared Sullinger scored 15 and secured a team-high nine rebounds.
"Each player on the team made some big plays and the bench players made some big plays, and we just stuck together," Crawford said. "It feels good to win because it didn't seem like we were supposed to win. But we stuck with it and everybody grew today."
Atlanta (8-6), which had its modest two-game winning streak snapped, was led by center Al Horford's 18 points. Guard Jeff Teague tallied 13 points and 10 assists.
"We were struggling to score the ball," Horford said. "It was one of those things ... they just kept making plays and we couldn't score. That's what it came down to."
The Celtics came out hot in the first period. Sullinger and Green each hit a 3-pointer as Boston took a quick 7-2 lead. The Celtics led by as many as six in the quarter and Atlanta could not get closer than two points before the period ended with Boston ahead 25-24.
Atlanta finally drew even at 27 when forward Cartier Martin made a 3-pointer and took the lead on the next trip down court when guard Shelvin Mack made a 3-pointer. Atlanta went on to lead by as many as six points and took a 53-49 lead into halftime.
The game remained close in the third period, with neither team able to pull away. The momentum changed slightly with 6:14 left in the period when Sullinger was called for a type-one flagrant foul on Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll, who was driving to the basket for a probable slam. Carroll made one free throw and the Hawks scored on the ensuing possession to take a 62-59 lead.
That was the beginning of a 15-5 run that allowed Atlanta to take a 74-64 lead after three periods. Teague fueled the rally with three baskets and a steal and a behind-the-back assist to forward Cartier Martin, who slammed it home.
NOTES: Atlanta G Kyle Korver made a 3-point basket for the 87th consecutive game. Korver connected with a jumper from the top of the circle with 10:11 left in the first period. That 3-pointer tied Dan Majerle for 26th on the all-time list at 1,360. Korver could break the NBA record of 89 straight games, held by Dana Barros, on Friday at home against Dallas. ... Six Hawks have double-doubles this year, the most in the league. ... Atlanta G Shelvin Mack played at Butler University for first-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens. ... Boston C Kelly Olynyk missed the game with a sprained right ankle suffered in Friday against Indiana. ... Boston continues its two-game road trip on Monday at Charlotte. The Celtics lost at home to the Bobcats 89-83 on Nov. 14. Atlanta plays again on Tuesday at home against Orlando. The Hawks beat the Magic 104-94 on Nov. 9 in Orlando.

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