The Celtics forward picked former teammate Al Harrington clean
with 35 seconds left and then fed Ricky Davis for a clinching layup
on Wednesday night to give Boston a 95-91 victory over the
unusually feisty Atlanta Hawks.
"It was just a great play by Antoine," Celtics coach Doc
Rivers said. "You've got to think Antoine knows where (Harrington)
is going. He played against them every day. It was a good guess."
The Hawks, who have the worst record in the NBA and just two
road wins in 32 tries, led for the first 42 minutes and didn't
trail until Paul Pierce hit a fallaway jumper with 3:53 left.
Pierce finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, making 10 of 12
free throws in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
Walker had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who are
5-1 since getting him from Atlanta at the trading deadline. Davis
scored 21 for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics.
Harrington scored 21 points with 13 rebounds, Obinna Ekezie had
10 and 10 and Tyronn Lue scored 25 for the Hawks. Atlanta has lost
23 consecutive road games.
"It's beyond a number right now. It seems like we can't
remember our last win," Harrington said. "Tonight was a great
opportunity to get one. Guys put it in my hands and I couldn't
That Atlanta, the worst team in the NBA, almost beat the Celtics
was surprising enough. That the Hawks nearly did it on the road
made it stunning.
But the biggest shock of all was that it was Boston, which had
taken advantage of the Hawks' eye toward the future and taken
Walker off their hands. Boston gave up a package that included a
first-round pick and Gary Payton, but the Hawks bought Payton out
and he re-signed with Boston to make the deal a steal.
The Celtics won four in a row after the deal before losing on a
last-second shot to Minnesota on Sunday.
They nearly made it two losses in a row.
The Hawks scored the first seven points of the game and led
32-20 early in the second. But Boston finally tied it on Walker's
3-pointer with 5:39 left to make it 79-79.
It went back and forth until Pierce made one of two free throws
with 53 seconds left to give Boston an 88-87 lead. With Harrington
dribbling at to the right of the point, Walker lunged for the ball
and knocked it away, then corralled it before it went out of
He raced up the left side ahead of Harrington before flipping it
across the paint to Davis for the basket that gave Boston its
biggest lead to that point, 90-87.
"I just wanted to guard him," Walker said. "I know, from
playing with him, some of his characteristics and what he likes to
do. I saw him putting the ball out there and I just reached for
Lue scooped in a layup to cut it to one point, then Pierce made
a pair of free throws with 16.5 seconds left. Harrington made a
jumper from the left side, but his feet were on the 3-point line
and Atlanta still trailed 92-91.
Pierce made two more free throws, then Tom Gugliotta -- another
part of the deadline deal -- missed for Atlanta. Pierce made one of
two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to make it 95-91.
Atlanta hasn't won a road game since beating Detroit on Dec. 10,
about three weeks after the brawl between the Pistons and Pacers
spilled into the stands. The Hawks have won just one other road
game -- against New Orleans, the worst team in the Western
Tony Allen scored a career-high 20 points in his first
career start at Atlanta Jan. 22. He returned to the lineup after
missing four games with a sprained right ankle. ... The Celtics
started four former college All-Americans. The only one who wasn't
was Walker. ... The Hawks have used 14 different starting lineups
this season and don't have a winning record with any of them.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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