Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 17th
Game 3: Friday, March 27th
Game 4: Friday, April 3rd

Celtics 88

(24-2, 10-1 away)

Hawks 85

(15-10, 9-2 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    7:00 PM ET, December 17, 2008

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 22 20 17 2988
    ATL 21 22 19 2385

    Top Performers

    Bos: R. Rondo 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 4 Stl

    Atl: J. Johnson 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    Garnett scores 10 of 18 in fourth quarter; C's streak alive

    Associated Press

    ATLANTA -- The Boston Celtics looked to Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter.

    Final Push

    The Hawls led by three points heading into the fourth quarter against the Celtics -- that's when Boston took charge. Here's a breakdown of Celtics' comeback for their 16th straight win.

    4th quarter
    Points 29 23
    FG-FGA 11-16 6-20
    3-pt. FG-FGA 1-1 3-8
    Garnett scored 10 of his 18 points in the final quarter, and Atlanta's Joe Johnson missed a late free throw that would have tied it, helping the Celtics beat the Hawks 88-85 on Wednesday night for their 16th straight victory.

    After Johnson missed the second of two free throws with 2.7 seconds, Ray Allen made a pair of free throws with 0.7 seconds left for the defending NBA champion Celtics, who have a franchise-best 24-2 record. It was only the second loss in 10 home games for the Hawks.

    "I told KG to take us home down the stretch," Celtics guard Rajon Rondo said. "I said make something happen. He said no problem."

    Fast Facts

    • The Celtics won their 16th straight, which tied for the third longest win streak in franchise history and third longest win streak by a defending champion.

    • It is also the Celtics' 10th straight road win. Boston won 10 straight road games last season from November 30 to January 11.

    • With 18 points Wednesday, Kevin Garnett has tied David Robinson for 28th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 20,790 points.

    • The Hawks' three-game win streak and seven-game home win streak is stopped. The Hawks lost their fifth straight game against the Celtics.

    -- ESPN research

    Garnett, quiet for much of the game, was 5-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter after opening 2-for-10.

    "It means we're playing well. We want to play championship basketball. That's what we're building up to. Our goal is to win a champion- ship," said Garnett.

    "You play your role around here. You do your job. You do what you're supposed to," he said.

    "We got a lot of great shots within the last few minutes of the game. Kevin hit two unbelievable shots," said Boston coach Doc Rivers.

    In the only other game this season between the two, the Celtics beat Atlanta 103-102 on Nov. 12 in Boston on Paul Pierce's last-second basket.

    Pierce added 18 points, and Allen had 16 for the Celtics.

    The Celtics are 10-1 on the road and 14-1 at home.

    "Sometimes it seems as though it's a burden. That monkey grows. It's a good monkey though," Allen said. "I've never been on a streak like this. It's great to be a part of our winning here. I think our winning is based on our preparation."

    Johnson led Atlanta with 20 points, 10 in the final period. He was 7-of-7 from the line before the miss. Marvin Williams added 16 points, and Josh Smith and Mike Bibby had 14 each for the Hawks.

    "I had a chance to get us into overtime and missed the second free throw. I made the first one and some of the pressure was off," Johnson said.

    "We drew the play up, and Joe got to the line, and the player that has carried this team the last four years went to the line," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson. "You could not ask for anything different."

    The Celtics took the lead for good at 85-84 on Garnett's basket with 30.8 seconds left. Rondo, who had 15 points, then made one of two free throws to make it 86-84 lead with 9.1 seconds left.

    Atlanta had won 12 of 13 at Philips Arena dating to last season's playoffs when Atlanta made the postseason for the first time since 1998-98 with a 37-45 record and beat Boston in all three games at home but lost all four in Boston.

    Atlanta snapped Cleveland's 11-game winning streak with a 97-92 victory Saturday night and beat Charlotte 83-79 on Monday night in the second of eight straight home games.

    Game notes

    The best start in NBA history with two losses is 26-2, set by the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers and matched by the '69-70 Knicks. ... The longest winning streak in Celtics history is 18, set during the 1981-82 season. ... The Celtics only road loss was 95-79 at Indiana on Nov. 1. Their only loss at home was against Denver on Nov. 14. ... The crowd of 18,729 was Atlanta's fourth sellout.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 85
    FGM-FGA 34-77 (.442) 29-79 (.367)
    3PM-3PA 2-13 (.154) 7-24 (.292)
    FTM-FTA 18-22 (.818) 20-27 (.741)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-45 15-41
    Assists 14 18
    Turnovers 14 15
    Steals 9 6
    Blocks 7 6
    Fast Break Points 12 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (2/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 6 7

    Top Performers

    Rajon Rondo Rondo
    Points: 15
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Joe Johnson Johnson
    Points: 20
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0