Hawks Earn Season Sweep of Celtics With 100-91 Win in Atlanta

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Hawks Earn Season Sweep of Celtics With 100-91 Win in Atlanta It's now safe to say that the Atlanta Hawks have the Celtics' number.

At the very least, we know Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford do.

In keeping with a theme the Hawks tandem has carried all season, they torched the Celtics for a combined 55 points in a 100-91 win at Philips Arena on Friday night.

With the win, Atlanta completed a four-game season sweep of Boston for the first time since 1993-94 and leapfrogged the C's into second place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Boston actually led this one by nine points early on, but that was before Crawford had a chance to get going. He finished the first half with 18 points and four assists as the Hawks led, 53-41.

Behind a dominant defensive stretch that held Atlanta without a field goal for almost seven minutes of the third quarter, Boston got to within one entering the fourth. But Johnson's night was just getting started. He scored nine straight points to make it 85-77 with just over seven minutes left and hit two huge shots in the final 94 seconds to keep the Celtics at bay.

Paul Pierce led the Green with a season-high 35 points. Kevin Garnett was the only other Celtic in double figures with 15.

Hawks 100, Celtics 91
Philips Arena, Atlanta, Ga.
Jan. 29, 2009

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Headliner: It's a toss-up between Johnson and Crawford, but JJ gets the nod, as he seemed to spend the entire fourth quarter with the ball in his hand. Every one of his baskets was clutch, too.

When the C's got within 78-77 on Tony Allen's jumper with 9:29 to go, Johnson scored on a layup to kick off a personal 7-0 run. Following five straight Celtics points which trimmed the Atlanta advantage to 93-88, Johnson buried a 7-footer in traffic.

And after Pierce's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left made it 97-91 and gave Boston a little bit of life, Johnson dribbled the shot clock down before drilling a 25-footer for the final margin.

Unsung Hero: If not for Pierce, the Celts' night would've been that much worse. He was 11-of-15 from the floor, made 12 of 13 free throws and hit his only 3-pointer in 37-plus minutes. Pierce also pulled angry Celtics out of potential fights on two occasions, doing his best to police what was at times a chippy affair.

Much of that chippiness can be accredited to Zaza Pachulia, who did his best to antagonize throughout and was rather effective for the Hawks. He also finished with nine points and six rebounds in less than 14 minutes.

Scrub: Crawford's effort was made possible in part by another lackluster performance by Hawks starting point guard Mike Bibby. Riddled by foul trouble, Bibby had two points in nine minutes of playing time.

The Arizona product has been held to single digits in eight of his last 10 games.

Turning Point: Amazingly enough, the run that turned things around for the Hawks did not involve Johnson or Crawford. After the Celtics took their largest lead at 16-7, Maurice Evans turned a Rajon Rondo turnover into a 3-pointer to start an 8-0 burst.

Evans, Pachulia and Josh Smith each scored in the surge and Crawford's half-court heave at the first quarter buzzer moments later gave Atlanta a lead it would never lose.

Up Next: It does not get any easier for the struggling C's, who host the champion Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon and then play Washington on the road the very next night. The stretch of four games in five days precedes a three-game homestand.

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