Final, Hawks 97-86: Atlanta upends the C's at the Garden for the first time in 10 tries, riding double-digit performances from five different players (including 24 from Joe Johnson) and a rebound differential of 47 to 29. Check back soon for a complete recap of the night's game, just the Celtics' second loss of the season.
Fourth quarter, 1:16, Hawks 94-84: Looks like it won't be enough. Johnson, now with 24 points, drives through the lane, scores the bucket and the foul. Boston's staring at its second home loss of the season.
Fourth quarter, 2:13, Hawks 91-84: The Truth is trying to lift his club yet again, scoring six straight for Boston to close the gap to seven.
Fourth quarter, 3:38, Hawks 89-80: 'Sheed just logged his fifth foul on a controversial call. Crawford drove through the lane and appeared to push Wallace off with his forearm as he went into the air. The most amazing part? 'Sheed didn't commit a technical foul.
Fourth quarter, 4:35, Hawks 88-80: Rondo and Pierce just showed the blueprint for a comeback: Drive the ball, score or draw a foul. It's the only way to keep enough time on the clock.
Fourth quarter, 5:30, Hawks 86-76: Crawford has 16 for Atlanta, as he draws an "and-one" with Allen on him. He has scored more than every Boston player other than Pierce.
Fourth quarter, 7:14, Hawks 83-74: Make it 15 offensive rebounds for Atlanta now. Boston has six.
Fourth quarter, 8:00, Hawks 82-72: Did Perkins tape bricks to his hands tonight? He commits yet another turnover on a great pass from Rondo underneath. The defense, meanwhile, is completely confused by Atlanta's athleticism.
Fourth quarter, 9:04, Hawks 80-72: Boston, by the way, has attempted just 60 shots to Atlanta's 72 — no better indication of the Hawks' 39-to-23 rebounding edge.
Fourth quarter, 9:04, Hawks 80-72: Crawford sinks another deep jumper to push Atlanta's lead to eight. 'Sheed, meanwhile, has picked up his fourth personal, which should push Doc's hand. KG's gonna have to come in sooner than he'd like to bring him in.
Fourth quarter, 10:25, Hawks 76-72: Pierce re-enters the game with a bruised knee. Good thing for the Celts, who can't seem to find much else in the way of offense.
Fourth quarter, 11:00, Hawks 76-70: Please grab a defensive board, Boston. The Hawks grab another offensive rebound for two points in the paint.
End of third quarter, Hawks 72-70: Boston mounted a mini-comeback bid at the end of the period, as the bench (Shelden Williams and Marquis Daniels) rallied the troops for a 6-2 run. Joe Johnson went off for nine points. Pierce leads the C's with 18, though he's still in the locker room with a bruised knee.
Third quarter, 1:25, Hawks 70-64: Pierce is in the locker room with a bruised knee; I'll report back with any updates. Meanwhile, the Green are getting beat up and down the floor and have let Johnson off the leash, as he now leads all scorers with 19 points.
Third quarter, 2:11, Hawks 67-64: Boston is 1-for-11 from beyond the arc and has been out-rebounded 35-21.
Third quarter, 3:15, Hawks 65-62: Johnson and Crawford rally Atlanta back into the driver's seat, riding a 7-to-4 run on a couple of treys and fast-break offense. Doc puts 'Sheed and Daniels back in, as Pierce is limping after a hard foul midway through the third.
Third quarter, 6:08, 58-58: Story of the game: The C's are giving up far too many second-chance points to Atlanta. Jamal Crawford just provided the perfect example, draining a 3 after the Hawks' 11th offensive rebound.
Third quarter, 6:50, Celtics 54-53: Atlanta and Boston have combined for just three treys on the game. Perhaps it's time to get 'Sheed and House back in to help spread the Hawks' defense?
Third quarter, 7:25, Celtics 54-48: Boston bounces right back on four straight points from Perk. The center is quietly having a strong night with 10 points, seven boards and a block.
Third quarter, 8:19, 48-48: The Hawks rattle off seven unanswered points to tie the game and increase their rebounding edge to 29-16.
Third quarter, 9:29, Celtics 48-43: Perk picks up his third personal — could be a problem with Atlanta having an easy job getting into the paint.
Third quarter, 10:02, Celtics 48-41: The same guys who carried the C's in the first half — Pierce and KG — have led them to their largest lead of the game early in the second; Garnett on a deep jumper and rebound, and Paul on six straight points afterward.
Halftime, Celtics 42-41: Joe Johnson and Josh Smith led the way for Atlanta, scoring 10 and 9, respectively.
For the C's, it was KG and Paul, who each dropped 10. Boston's weakness? It allowed 25 Atlanta boards and grabbed just 13.
Second quarter, 1:44, Celtics 40-39: The Green turn it back around on four straight of their own, including a dunk by Pierce on a fast-break feed from Rondo. Boston's shooting 51.4 percent to Atlanta's 46.
Second quarter, 2:30, Hawks 39-36: Atlanta scores six straight, including four from Johnson (10 points in all) to take back the lead. The C's are giving up too many layups.
Second quarter, 5:40, Celtics 32-31: This score isn't what most expected — not with the league's fourth-ranked offense (Atlanta) coming to town. The C's have held the rivals to 44 percent shooting, though they've also allowed them 20 rebounds to just eight.
Second quarter, 8:52, Celtics 27-26: Boston is shooting 55 percent from the field but just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. Where are the C's excelling? They've forced seven Atlanta turnovers.
Second quarter, 10:55, Celtics 25-24: The C's take their first lead of the game on a 3 from Rasheed Wallace. That's the benefit of having a big man who can spread the defense.
End of quarter, Hawks 24-22: Celtics ride a mini-rally at the end of the opening period to close the gap to just two — a minor miracle given Atlanta out-rebounded the C's 12-4.
First quarter, 1:55, Hawks 24-18: Atlanta has posted five offensive rebounds in under 12 minutes of play. Extrapolate, and they're looking at more than 20 in the game. That's a recipe for disaster for Boston.
First quarter, 3:07, Hawks 22-16: KG's leading the way for Boston, with eight points in the early going. The problem? Boston's interior defense (and rebounding) has been too porous. Atlanta's already got 14 points in the paint.
First quarter, 5:05, Hawks 16-10: The usual suspects — Horford, Johnson and Smith — are carrying the load for Atlanta, which is shooting 58 percent from the field in the early going.
C's need to rotate better on the weak side to pinch that rate.
First quarter, 7:15, Hawks 12-6: Horford has six points in the early going, complemented by four from Josh Smith. Atlanta's showing off their balanced attack.
First quarter, 8:30, Hawks 6-4: Ten points in the game so far, all coming in the paint. Interesting for a team that shoots a bunch from outside (Celtics) and another that lives on the fast break (Hawks).
First quarter, 10:40, Hawks 4-0: Two-straight buckets for Horford in the paint give Atlanta the early lead. The Hawks are one of the better teams in the league at scoring underneath. Perk and KG will have to be solid in the post.
7:56: Another stats note: The Hawks can score in bunches, ranking fourth in the league in points per, at 107.8. Ray will need to put the clamp on Joe Johnson to keep Atlanta's balanced attack off-kilter.
7:42 p.m.: Interesting stat: Joe Smith leads the Hawks in assists, at 4.4 per game. He's a power forward.
Boston, in contrast, ranks No. 1 in the NBA in assists, with 26.6 per contest.
7:35 p.m.: A debate for those interested in commenting: Who's the Celtics' MVP at this point in the season, Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce?
7:15 p.m.: We're less than an hour from tip. Starting lineup for the Hawks is as you might expect:
Atlanta: PG: Mike Bibby; SG: Joe Johnson; SF: Marvin Williams; PF: Josh Smith; C: Al Horford
1:20 p.m.: Two teams, a combined 14 wins already in a young season, and a deep rivalry borne of a seven-game marathon series in the first round of the 2008 postseason.
That just about sums up the Hawks-at-Celtics tilt penned in for 8 p.m. on Friday at the Garden.
Here's the thing: This young rivalry has been one-sided. Since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Boston in 2007, Atlanta hasn't managed to win a single regular-season game and has lost nine straight in Beantown.
Both clubs come into this matchup with a hot hand. The Hawks are 6-2 and dropped 114 on New York on Wednesday. The C's are 8-1 and coming off an impressive 105-86 shellacking of a very good Utah Jazz squad.
More stats and notes to come before tip-off at 8 p.m. ET. Check back in for all the highlights.
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