BOSTON — Paul Pierce had 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 27 points to carry the Boston Celtics to a 118-107
victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
Jason Terry was 5 of 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Boston, which won its second in a row following a five-game losing streak.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 18 points but shot just
7 of 23 from the floor and
0 for 6 in the second half.
Jeff Teague added 17 points and seven assists.
The Celtics, who closed to 11/2 games behind the Hawks for the Eastern Conference’s sixth playoff spot, won the season series 3-1.
The Hawks clinched a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season when they beat the Toronto Raptors 107-88 on the road Wednesday night.
The Hawks sliced an
11-point deficit to 100-94, but Brandon Bass nailed a baseline jumper and Terry followed with a 3 from the top of the key after a wild scramble for a loose ball that had it slip through the hands of at least four players.
Green then nailed a jumper, making it 107-94 with 5:08 left.
The Hawks never threatened the rest of the way.
Boston, which led by 10 at halftime, pushed it to 83-68 on Green’s 3-pointer from the right corner midway through the third and benefited from a poor shooting quarter by Atlanta’s Smith.
The Celtics owned a 92-80 advantage after three quarters.
Smith was 0 for 6 from the field, missing five jumpers and came up short on a drive.
He also got a technical. Pierce was close to a triple-double after three quarters, collecting 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Terry hit consecutive 3s just 32 seconds apart midway into the second, triggering Boston’s 25-8 run.
He made four in the spree and Pierce added one, helping the Celtics to a 66-56 halftime edge.
Jordan Crawford hit a buzzer-beating 3 from directly in front of the Celtics’ bench to give Boston a 32-30 edge after one.
The lead flip flopped nine times in the opening quarter.