Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Wednesday, November 23rd
Game 2: Friday, January 6th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 10th

Celtics 98

(14-21, 4-13 away)

Hawks 94

(9-23, 6-9 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, January 10, 2006

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 29 24 21 2498
    ATL 32 30 19 1394

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Atl: J. Johnson 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Celts deny Hawks first three-game win streak since '04

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks had a three-game winning streak in their grasp -- no small accomplishment for this bunch.

    Boston snatched it away at the end.

    Ricky Davis converted a three-point play with 1:40 left to give the Celtics their first lead since the opening quarter, and Boston held on for a 98-94 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday night.

    Paul Pierce scored 27 points and Davis added 21 to lead the Celtics, who kept Atlanta from winning three in a row for the first time since April 2004.

    "That was a good goal," said Josh Childress, one of six players in double figures for the Hawks. "We really should have had this game."

    The Hawks built a 16-point lead in the second quarter, but Boston slowly chipped away at the deficit. Finally, the Celtics pulled ahead when Davis grabbed a long rebound at the top of the key, took off the other way and converted the lay-in, drawing a foul from Joe Johnson in the process. Davis made the free throw to give Boston a 94-92 lead -- its first advantage since going up 13-12 only 5 minutes into the game.

    "Guys just sucked it up and we got stops," Davis said. "The last three, four games, we've just been battling back. That's one thing, this team never gives up."

    Johnson missed a 3-pointer at the other end, and Pierce did the same for the Celtics. But Brian Scalabrine slipped inside to tip in Pierce's miss, pushing Boston ahead 96-92.

    Scalabrine was an unlikely contributor. He scored only four points, but played a season-high 28 minutes and played a key defensive role.

    "In the NBA, it's your job to be prepared," Scalabrine said. "This whole thing is not about getting numbers, but winning basketball games."

    The Hawks had a couple of chances to pull even after Pierce was called for walking with 35 seconds left. Johnson missed again but got his own rebound. Al Harrington drove past Pierce, but Mark Blount stepped into the lane to draw the offensive foul with 7 seconds remaining.

    Davis made a couple of free throws to seal the victory.

    "They came out and turned up their intensity," Childress said. "We just sustained our same energy. We have to learn how to turn it up."

    Zaza Pachulia led the Hawks with 18 points, while Harrington chipped in with 16 and Johnson 15. But the Hawks fell apart offensively in the second half, settling for jump shots instead of working the ball inside. They shot 33 percent and managed only 32 points over the final two quarters. At the end, the Celtics even had a foul to give to prevent Atlanta from getting off a shot or reaching the foul line.

    "We couldn't execute team basketball," Pachulia said. "It's a 5-on-5 game. We didn't share the ball down the stretch."

    Johnson was the biggest offender, going 2-of-10 in the second half.

    "We weren't scoring and we weren't stopping them," he said. "We couldn't come up with the big play."

    Atlanta dominated much of the second quarter, stretching its lead to 60-44 on Johnson's 3-pointer with 2:40 to go. But Boston closed the half with a 9-2 spurt, slicing the deficit to 62-53 at the break.

    The Hawks failed in their bid to sweep the season series with the Celtics. They had won the first two meetings, including a 103-98 victory in Boston last Friday to start their modest two-game winning streak.

    But Atlanta couldn't make it three in a row.

    "We didn't get any defensive stops," Harrington said. "You can't beat anybody down the stretch if you let them get layups."

    Game notes

    Pierce reached a career milestone, scoring his 13,000th point late in the second quarter. ... Pachulia picked up his 1,000th career point in the third. ... The Hawks' last three-game winning streak was April 9-12, 2004. They won only 13 games all last season, the worst in franchise history. ... The Hawks haven't won three games in a season series since they swept four games from Cleveland in 2002-03.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 94
    FGM-FGA 38-73 (.521) 36-80 (.450)
    3PM-3PA 5-16 (.313) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 17-26 (.654) 17-21 (.810)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-36 14-37
    Assists 21 23
    Turnovers 15 15
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 23 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (2/0) 26 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 16

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 27
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Joe Johnson Johnson
    Points: 15
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0