Originally written March 29, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
BOSTON -- Paul Pierce had 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 27 points to carry the Boston Celtics to a 118-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Jason Terry was 5 of 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Boston, which won its second straight following a five-game losing streak. Josh Smith led the Hawks with 18 points but shot just 7 of 23 from the floor and 0 for 6 in the second half. Jeff Teague added 17 points and seven assists. The Celtics, who closed to 1 12 games behind the Hawks for the Eastern Conference's sixth playoff spot, won the season series 3-1. The Hawks sliced an 11-point deficit to 100-94, but Brandon Bass nailed a baseline jumper and Terry followed with a 3 from the top of the key after a wild scramble for a loose ball that had it slip through the hands of at least four players. Green then nailed a jumper, making it 107-94 with 5:08 left. The Hawks never threatened the rest of the way. Boston, which led by 10 at halftime, pushed it to 83-68 on Green's 3-pointer from the right corner midway through the third and benefited from a poor shooting quarter by Atlanta's Smith. The Celtics owned a 92-80 advantage after three. Smith was 0 for 6 from the field, missing five jumpers and came up short on a drive. He also got a technical. Pierce was close to a triple-double after three quarters, collecting 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Terry hit consecutive 3s just 32 seconds apart midway into the second, triggering Boston's 25-8 run. He made four in the spree and Pierce added one, helping the Celtics to a 66-56 halftime edge. Jordan Crawford hit a buzzer-beating 3 from directly in front of the Celtics' bench to give Boston a 32-30 edge after one. The lead flip flopped nine times in the opening quarter. NOTES: Pierce fell to the floor hard early in the third quarter and limped to the bench, favoring his left leg, but returned after a timeout. ... Hawks FC Al Horford missed the game due to an illness. ... Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game that the timetable for FC Kevin Garnett's return remained the same. "I think it's still two weeks," he said. "I don't think it'll be any longer than that. But if it's two and a half, I don't want to you to call me a liar or anything like that." Garnett missed his fourth straight with what the team called "left ankle inflammation." ... Boston G Courtney Lee returned after missing three games with a sprained left ankle. "I worked out (Thursday) and felt good," he said before the game. "Then at shootaround (Friday morning) I felt good and decided to give it a go." ... Hawks G John Jenkins left the game with a concussion and the first half and didn't return. ... Boston G Rajon Rondo, out for the season after right knee surgery, was on the bench.
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