Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Celtics 116

(39-33, 14-21 away)

Hawks 100

(11-61, 8-27 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:30 PM ET, April 1, 2005

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 32 36 22 26116
    ATL 18 28 31 23100

    Top Performers

    Bos: R. Davis 36 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Atl: J. Childress 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Boston snaps 4-game slide; Hawks drop 11th straight

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Their confidence shaken by a four-game losing streak, Ricky Davis and the Boston Celtics were intent on getting well against the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

    With Davis scoring 20 of his season-high 36 points in the second period, the Celtics raced to a 30-point lead in the first half and held off the Hawks 116-100 on Friday night.

    The Celtics shot 69 percent from the field in the first half and 60 percent overall, earning praise from coach Doc Rivers.

    "This is a great win for us," Rivers said. "I don't know if we could have shot any better. We were as efficient as we could be."

    The Celtics pushed their Atlantic Division lead over second-place Philadelphia, which lost to Dallas on Friday night, to four games. The Celtics, who will play the 76ers at home on Sunday, also have regained a one-game lead over Cleveland in the fight for home court advantage in the playoffs.

    "We had to win this one," Celtics guard Gary Payton said. "We couldn't go into that game Sunday three games up and make it a battle. We've got to pick it up now."

    The Hawks suffered their 11th straight loss, including nine straight at home. They have lost 24 of 25 games.

    "Even though they're the last-place team in the league, their guys still came out and played hard," Davis said. "We wanted to come out and bury them early so it wouldn't be close like the last time."

    The Celtics escaped with a 95-91 win over the Hawks in Boston on March 9.

    On Friday night, Boston led 32-18 after one period and then quickly pushed the lead to 30 points as Davis dominated the second period.

    "It's very hard to stop him," said Hawks rookie Josh Childress, who also set his season high with 26 points. "He can stop on a dime and pull up. It's hard to guard him. ... What can you do about that?"

    Boston won 11 of its first 12 games after acquiring forward Antoine Walker from Atlanta on Feb. 24. The streak put the Celtics in control of their division, but Walker shot only 33 percent from the field in a four-game losing streak that left Boston only three games ahead of the 76ers.

    Walker scored only seven points, and Paul Pierce had 17, four below his average, making the bench points from Davis especially important.

    "He had to do that," Rivers said. "Paul was in foul trouble. Ricky had to play well, and he did."

    A 3-pointer by Pierce midway through the second period gave the Celtics their first 30-point lead, 53-23.

    Davis had his 16th game off the bench with 20 or more points, the most for the Celtics in a season since Kevin McHale had 23 in 1990-91.

    Davis made 14 of 17 shots from the field in his second game of the season with at least 30 points against Atlanta. Davis had 30 points in a 106-94 win over the Hawks in Boston on Jan. 14.

    The Hawks couldn't stop Davis, but they still rallied, outscoring the Celtics 31-22 in the third quarter.

    Sparked by six straight points from Tom Gugliotta, the Hawks cut Boston's lead to nine points, 84-75, late in the third period. The Celtics led by only 10 points, 94-84, early in the final period, but they kept the lead in double figures.

    Josh Smith had 16 points and Al Harrington added 15 for Atlanta.

    Game notes

    The Hawks were without starting point guard Tyronn Lue, who was sent home with a severe headache. Lue was hit in the head in a collision with Kwame Brown late in a loss to Washington on Wednesday night. Rookie Royal Ivey filled in for Lue, making his fifth start of the season, his first since Dec. 30. Ivey had four points and two assists. ... Favoring his left knee, Walker hobbled off the floor with 6:36 left in the third quarter, but he returned in the fourth quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 116 100
    FGM-FGA 45-75 (.600) 35-84 (.417)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 2-10 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 22-30 (.733) 28-35 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 19-42
    Assists 32 22
    Turnovers 13 13
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 9 1
    Fast Break Points 20 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 24 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 30 0

    Top Performers

    Ricky Davis Davis
    Points: 36
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Josh Childress Childress
    Points: 26
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0