Originally created 03/12/98

Atlanta holds on for victory over Celtics



BOSTON -- Steve Smith scored 26 points and the Atlanta Hawks, despite squandering two big leads, won their fourth consecutive game Wednesday night, 110-105 over the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics fought back from deficits of 15 points in the first quarter and 18 in the third and cut the lead to 89-84 on Antoine Walker's layup with 11:27 left in the game.

Christian Laettner, who scored just two points in the first three quarters, then scored eight in a 12-7 run that put the Hawks ahead 101-91.

The Celtics rallied again as five consecutive points by Kenny Anderson made it 106-101 with 1:23 remaining, but Boston came no closer as Smith and Anderson each hit two free throws, Smith followed with two more and Walker finished the scoring on a basket with nine seconds left.

Alan Henderson scored 22 points and Mookie Blaylock 19 for Atlanta, which won for the seventh time in eight games. Boston, 1-3 in its past four, was led by Walker with 22 points and Anderson and Walter McCarty with 19 each.

After falling behind 30-15 with 1:34 left in the first quarter, the Celtics outscored the Hawks 34-13 to take their biggest lead, 49-43 with 4:34 left in the first half.

Chucky Brown then hit a 14-footer that started a 14-0 run and gave Atlanta a 57-49 lead with 46 seconds to go in the half. Smith led the surge with eight points, including two 3-pointers.

Travis Knight's dunk with one second left cut the lead to 57-51 at halftime.

Atlanta started the second half with a 14-2 run to take a 71-53 lead with 8:53 left in the third quarter. But Boston got the next 10 points on a 3-pointer by Anderson, a jumper and another 3-pointer by Bruce Bowen and two free throws by McCarty.