For the fourth season in a row, the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics have split their season series at two games apiece following Atlanta's 105-97 victory Wednesday night. With this win, Atlanta now has a two-game lead on the New York Knicks for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs while officially eliminating the Cleveland Cavaliers from playoff contention this season.
Atlanta started off the game red hot, making 11 of their first 13 shots and built up a 14-point lead. Unfortunately when the second half started, Atlanta couldn’t buy a bucket, making just five of 20 shot attempts in the third quarter, allowing Boston to catch up and take an 89-80 lead with less than six minutes in the game.
Fortunately for the Hawks, they went on a 10-0 run in the next 90 seconds to give them a one-point lead. Kyle Korver, who finished with 17 points, gave Atlanta their final lead of the game after making two straight three-point shots to put Atlanta up 93-92.
Boston’s starting point guard, Rajon Rondo, who finished with 19 points and 12 assists, was not pleased with his team giving up the lead late in the game. “We had a big lead and we let the team back in it,” Rondo said. “It's pretty much the same old story the last couple of games. When teams make a comeback on us, they turn up the pressure and we seem to fold."
Six Hawks, including all five starters, scored in double figures. Jeff Teague led the team with 19 points and eight assists. Paul Millsap and Elton Brand each recorded double-doubles as Millsap finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Brand added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Atlanta now has just four games remaining in their regular season schedule. They will head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets this Friday and then return home for their two final games at Philips Arena against the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Bobcats before ending the season in Milwaukee. Tipoff for the Brooklyn game is scheduled for 7:30pm EST.