Celtics End Losing Skid With Blowout Victory Over Atlanta Hawks


Celtics End Losing Skid With Blowout Victory Over Atlanta HawksFinal: Celtics 99, Hawks 76. The Celtics' two-game losing streak is a thing of the past — they've put it behind them with a complete and utter destruction of the Atlanta Hawks on their home floor.

The C's open things with a 39-12 first quarter and never look back. After being winless in four meetings with the Hawks last season, the C's get revenge in a big way. They improve to 10-4 on the season.

The C's get double-doubles from each of their starting bigs — 17 points and 11 rebounds for Kevin Garnett, and 13 and 11 for Shaquille O'Neal. Nate Robinson has another brilliant performance in place of the injured Rajon Rondo, dropping 16 points and 10 assists while the C's starter rests his tweaked hamstring.

The Celtics will fly home Tuesday before taking on the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

Fourth quarter, 2:40, Celtics 99-72: Six points for Von Wafer, two for Luke Harangody, two for the newbie Avery Bradley. Everyone's doing their part now — all 12 active Celtics have scored.

To beat a legit NBA playoff team by 25-plus, you need a total team effort. The C's have certainly gotten that tonight.

Fourth quarter, 5:11, Celtics 95-64: Congratulations to Avery Bradley, who checks in for the first time here in the fourth quarter. It's been a long road back for Bradley, who finally makes his NBA debut after a long struggle with ankle injuries.

Bradley has two points and a rebound already. He's on the floor alongside fellow rookies Luke Harangody and Semih Erden. Looks like they're having a blast playing together.

Fourth quarter, 6:11, Celtics 89-64: The Celtics have four players in double figures in this game — Garnett, Robinson, O'Neal, Pierce, all with 13-plus points. The Hawks have only Mike Bibby, with 11.

Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Josh Smith have all been no-shows in this one. It's hard to win when your three best players give you nothing.

Fourth quarter, 9:56, Celtics 89-58: Delonte West just made the "Holy cow!" defensive play of the year for the Celtics, stuffing a Zaza Pachulia layup and running the break. What a play.

That's Delonte for you — always working hard. Even with his team up 31, he makes plays to help make the team even better. That's the kind of role player you love to have on your side.

End of third quarter, Celtics 85-56: The Celtics are 12 minutes away from finishing their most impressive victory of the season to date.

The C's now lead the Hawks by 29 going into the fourth quarter. We've seen them blow a lot of second-half leads already this season, but this one looks safe. They're cruising.

You can forget about that losing streak.

Third quarter, 2:41, Celtics 85-54: Nate Robinson is showing no mercy. The little man just drained back-to-back corner 3s, pushing the Celtics' lead to a ridiculous 31.

Maybe it's time for Doc Rivers to empty his bench and let the starters rest. Avery Bradley is active tonight, and this is a golden opportunity for the former Texas Longhorn to make his NBA debut.

Third quarter, 5:42, Celtics 76-47: Shaq now has 13 and 10, his first double-double in a Celtics uniform.

It's a miracle he hasn't scored twice that. The Hawks just don't have anyone that can match up with him. He's a nightmare.

Third quarter, 7:30, Celtics 72-44: Not that they needed it or anything, but the C's just rattled off an 8-0 run to push their lead from 20 back to 28. Paul Pierce knocks down a pair of difficult jump shots along the way — he's now got 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Every single Celtic is having a great shooting night. Dazzling across the board. No exceptions.

Third quarter, 9:22, Celtics 68-44: Shaq and KG pick up the second half exactly where they left the first — dominating in the paint. Each Celtic big man opens the third quarter with a bucket — Shaq has 11 points now, and KG 15.

Meanwhile, Josh Smith may or may not have shown up tonight for the Hawks. The jury's out on that one.

Halftime, Celtics 64-42: Hey, remember when the Celtics were on a two-game losing streak? You can consider that pretty much over.

The Celtics have roared to a 22-point lead over the Atlanta Hawks on their home floor, shooting 62.2 percent as a team and thoroughly dominating in the paint. They've got a 26-10 advantage on the glass. The Hawks look totally overmatched.

Kevin Garnett leads the way for the Celtics with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal. Shaquille O'Neal has nine points and nine boards.

But it's been a total team effort. Every Celtic is doing his job.

Second quarter, 2:12, Celtics 61-37: Kevin Garnett is now 6-for-6 from the field. He's got 13 points. Shaquille O'Neal has a near-double-double with nine points and nine boards. For the Hawks, Horford and Smith have been non-factors.

Boston's post game has just been incredible. Atlanta has no answer.

Second quarter, 3:55, Celtics 55-37: The Hawks are hoping Joe Johnson can carry them all the way back singlehandedly. And they're crazy.

A Johnson 3 here makes it an 18-point game. Atlanta's still got a lot of work to do.

Some stops would help.

Second quarter, 5:50, Celtics 52-32: Mike Bibby just knocked down a pretty-looking 3.

The Hawks could use about seven more of those.

The execution and the effort have been spotty for Atlanta, but in essence this is a make-miss game. The Hawks' shots just aren't going in, plain and simple.

If the shooting numbers start to even out, the Hawks might not be dead just yet.

Second quarter, 6:52, Celtics 52-29: That's the kind of night the Celtics are having — even when they screw up, it all works out.

Nate Robinson lobs a bad pass to Shaquille O'Neal for an alley-oop, and Shaq loses it at the rim. The ball rolls directly to… Nate Robinson again, and Nate knocks down a wide-open short jumper.

The C's can do no wrong.

Second quarter, 8:57, Celtics 48-25: Al Horford is starting to wake up, as he gets his first two points and grabs a rebound on the defensive end. The Hawks need a titanic effort out of him to have a chance.

Horford and Josh Smith have combined for only four points. The Hawks are generally a decent team at scoring down low, but that hasn't been the case tonight. Their lack of a post game has been a major difference-maker.

Second quarter, 9:46, Celtics 46-23: The Hawks are starting to come alive on the offensive end, with Jeff Teague and two scorers named Crawford (Jamal and Jordan) each chipping in.

The Hawks look disinterested on the defensive end, like they've already resigned in this game. But at least their shots are starting to fall — that's a start.

End of first quarter, Celtics 39-13: This is utterly absurd. The Celtics are now shooting 18-of-25 as a team, for an even 72.0 percent. The Hawks are 4-for-17. Ugly. Just ugly.

The Celtics are hitting every shot in sight, and when the Hawks miss, the C's are capitalizing. It's a 16-3 edge on the boards for Boston.

Kevin Garnett has nine points and Nate Robinson, eight. Shaquille O'Neal has six points and five rebounds.

The C's are piling it on.

First quarter, 3:13, Celtics 31-10: The Celtics have made 10 of their last 11 attempts from the floor. For the game they're 14-of-19, or 73.7 percent. The C's are getting every shot they want, and the Hawks aren't putting up a fight.

If the Celtics were a younger, more athletic team, we'd be declaring this game over. But not with the C's, who have a knack for letting these early leads slip away.

Can they keep piling it on? That's the question.

First quarter, 6:35, Celtics 18-5: Shaquille O'Neal has a "please, someone challenge me" look on his face right now. He's got six points and five rebounds, and he hasn't had to work too hard for it.

All three of his buckets have been uncontested lay-ins. Al Horford is a solid center when he can pick on someone his own size, but Shaq is just too big and too imposing.

The C's are utterly dominating this game.

First quarter, 8:11, Celtics 13-3: This is all you need to know…

Rebounds: Boston 7, Atlanta 1. Shaquille O'Neal has four all by himself.

Field goals: Boston 6-of-10, Atlanta 1-of-5. Turns out you get a lot more opportunities when you dominate the glass. Who knew?

The Celtics are utterly dominating this game so far. Let's see if they can maintain that effort.

First quarter, 8:53, Celtics 11-3: The Celtics are moving the ball like champions. Ray Allen makes the extra pass, finding Nate Robinson in the corner for a wide-open 3.

The C's are rolling. Nate's got five points early.

First quarter, 11:03, Celtics 4-0: Maybe Rajon Rondo has been overrated all this time. Nate Robinson seems to be doing just fine in his stead — with this many weapons, it all comes easy.

Nate assists one bucket for Paul Pierce and a second for Kevin Garnett. The C's have themselves an early lead.

7 p.m.: Nate Robinson is amped up and ready to go. The Celtics may not have Rajon Rondo, but they've got an athletic young point guard on the floor who's ready to roll.

C's-Hawks is about to get underway. Let's get started.

6:30 p.m.: It looks like Rondo is a no-go against the Hawks. He's been persistent about his intent to play Monday night, but the Celtics' medical staff has other plans for him.

Rondo can wait until Wednesday, when the C's return home to take on the New Jersey Nets. Another couple days of rest will do him good.

Expect another episode of the Nate Robinson Show against the Hawks.

4 p.m.: The big question heading into this one: Will Rajon Rondo be able to go?

Rondo has been out of action since Friday night in Boston, when he strained his left hamstring in a loss to the Thunder. He was a game-time decision for Sunday in Toronto, and Doc Rivers ultimately decided no.

Now, the C's could really use him against the Hawks. He brings a playmaking ability that could really help them pick apart this Atlanta defense.

Nate Robinson won't be able to drive to the basket and wreak havoc like he did on the Raptors. The Hawks are just too strong inside.

8 a.m.: The Celtics began the regular season white-hot, taking a 9-2 record into this past weekend. Then, things cooled off a little bit.

Their opponent on Monday night knows a little bit about what that's like.

The C's will be taking on the Atlanta Hawks, who began their regular season as the toast of the Eastern Conference with a squeaky-clean 6-0 mark. They've since fallen off, losing five of their last seven.

After losing over the weekend to Oklahoma City and Toronto, the Celtics will have a shot at redemption as they take on the Hawks on the road. Likewise, the Hawks are looking to climb their way out of a funk of their own. Someone will get their way tonight.

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