Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/14

Game 1: Friday, January 14th
Game 2: Saturday, January 22nd
Game 3: Wednesday, March 9th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Hawks 91

(10-50, 2-30 away)

Celtics 95

(32-29, 22-10 home)

Coverage: FSS

7:00 PM ET, March 9, 2005

TD Garden, Boston, MA

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 30 22 18 2191
BOS 20 26 18 3195

Top Performers

Atl: T. Lue 25 Pts, 1 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

Bos: P. Pierce 27 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Then dishes to Davis for winning layup

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics stole Antoine Walker, and then Walker stole the ball.

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 deliver."

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 bounds.

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 it."

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 Conference.

Game notes

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