Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/1/12

ATLANTA -- On a night where he knew he would have to come up big, Paul Pierce poured in 36 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to power the Boston Celtics to an 87-80 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night.

Despite being without guard Rajon Rondo, who was suspended for one game for bumping an official in Game 1, and Ray Allen, out with an ankle injury, the Celtics were able to tie the series at a game apiece with a second-half surge.

Atlanta seemed to have the game in hand, getting off to the fast start in the third quarter to grab an 11-point advantage.

Josh Smith, who finished with 16 points, had six points and six rebounds in that quarter, and Joe Johnson, who had 22, had a big 3-pointer to give the team a 65-54 lead.

But the Celtics continued to battle.

Keyon Dooling came up with his second of two big 3-pointers in the third to keep the Celtics close, and the Celtics went on a 30-15 run to take 79-72 lead with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter.

It would be a lead the Celtics would not let relinquish.

Kevin Garnett added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Boston.

Boston gave the Hawks everything they could handle and more in the first half, which ended with Atlanta clinging to a 44-41 lead.

The Celtics were able to stay in the game with major contributions from Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus.

Pierce got off to a hot start, scoring the first nine points for the Celtics, while the Hawks struggled to get into the game early.

Smith missed a dunk and started just 2-for-7 after being the Hawks' star in Game 1.

The Hawks were able to withstand the early salvo with timely buckets from Johnson and Jeff Teague, who also had a huge block on a three-point attempt by Bradley.

Pierce finished the half with 16 points, while Teague had 12 for the Hawks, who led by six points late in the second quarter and took a three-point lead into halftime.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker