Posted May 06, 2012 on AP on Fox
Paul Pierce scored 24 points in 18 minutes and the Boston Celtics opened a 37-point third-quarter lead before coasting to a 101-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Celtics can finish off the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday. Game 6 would be in Boston on Thursday, if necessary. Two nights after his triple-double helped turn back the Hawks in overtime in Game 3, Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 16 assists as the Celtics got some much-needed rest for their aging and injured roster. Josh Smith returned after missing Friday's game and had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Atlanta. Al Horford, who played for the first time in almost four months, scored 12 points. Rondo, whose triple-double Friday was the seventh of his career, may have been even better in Game 4, shooting 8 for 11 from the floor and sinking a pair of 3-pointers - tying a career high. Perhaps the biggest boost of all for the aging and injured Boston lineup: Rondo and Brandon Bass were the only Celtics to play more than 30 minutes. Pierce limped off the court favoring his left knee midway through the second quarter, but he returned for the start of the third. He was on the court as Boston scored 16 of the first 18 points in the second half to open an 80-37 lead with 8:13 left in the third quarter. That was enough to earn Pierce, who played 47 minutes on Friday, some much-needed rest. Avery Bradley, who dislocated his shoulder in Game 3, played just 19 minutes Sunday and Ray Allen, who played 37 minutes Friday in his first game in more than three weeks, sat down after scoring 12 points and pulling down five rebounds in 19 minutes in Game 4. The teams went to the locker rooms at the half with Boston holding a 63-41 lead. But during the break, the officials reviewed a jumper by Ray Allen and changed it from a 2-pointer to a 3-pointer. Rondo hit a 3-pointer to open the third quarter, giving Boston a 26-point lead, then Bass made a jumper and Pierce hit a 3 to make it 72-41. By the time the Celtics were done with the 16-2 run to start the half, they led 80-43 and coach Doc Rivers was emptying his bench. Pierce headed for the tunnel to the locker room and pulled over a stationary bicycle to stay loose in case he was needed again. He wasn't. The Hawks weren't able to get any closer than 22 points before Rondo and Allen hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Rondo made a behind-the-back fake to clear out the lane for an easy layup as Boston closed out the third quarter with a 90-63 lead. Atlanta did cut it to 20 points in garbage time before Keyon Dooling made a 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes to play. Notes: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attended the game with his wife, Ann. They left their mid-court seats with about 6 minutes left and Boston leading 98-71. ... The Celtics shot 64 percent in the first half. ... Tracy McGrady, a key contributor for Atlanta in Game 3, had just two points in 9 minutes.

Paul Pierce: Injury Faker?

I was preoccupied with chewing mouthfuls of daily multivitamins and spitting swag on a chai honey when it happened.  I certainly wasn’t watching.  No, never that.  There is never a good reason to watch a blowout that doesn’t involve your team, not even if that blowout involves that saucy little Hawkteague.   So yes, I [...]

Your Morning Dump... Pierce says the knee will be fine

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. "I kinda sprained it this morning, then I aggravated it today in the game," said Pierce. "I’m glad we were able to get a win like this, give me some rest. We'll get me a couple days off...

Paul Pierce Leaves Game 4 With Left Knee Injury, Return Probable

Paul Pierce left Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks with a left knee injury and headed to the locker room with team doctors. Pierce appeared to twist his knee and grabbed it in pain before walking off the court under his own power. Before leaving the game, Pierce had scored 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting, including two 3-pointers. The Celtics led the Hawks 64-41 after one half of play...

Should Paul Pierce's No. 34 Be Retired by the Celtics Someday?

The Celtics might have to start using Roman numerals if they retire any more numbers, but you can't dispute what Paul Pierce has meant to the C's throughout his 14-year career. The Truth trails only John Havlicek on Boston's all-time scoring list, as he leapfrogged Larry Bird during the regular season. And despite just the one title (in 2008), Pierce has been the face...

Comments from the other side - Hawks Game 4 5/6

Great win by the Celtics and an inspired performance by the Captain, which inspired the Hawks fans to spew hate and threats in his direction.   Between trashing their own players and wishing injury and death on Celtics players, the Hawks fans are a pretty bitter bunch.  And when all else fails,  blame the refs.  I'll just never understand fans wishing serious injury on players...

Celtics beat down Hawks 101-79 (Live Blog)

This was the best I've seen the Celtics shoot maybe ever and definitely the best Rondo's jump shot has looked. He finished 8/11 with 20 points and 16 assists. He's just an incredible basketball player.   Hopefully him and the Celtics have saved a few shots for game 5. Pierce was the other hero of this game with 24 points on 10/13 from the field. He probably would...

Hawks 87, Celtics 86: Atlanta extends the series to Game 6

Three different times during tonight’s Game 4, I exhibited the Boston Celtics’ lifeless bodies and properly identified them as deceased. Three different times they jumped straight out of the coffin doing the Bernie and making quick comebacks. But the Celtics could not get a shot off on the final possession after Rajon Rondo improbably stole an inbounds pass to give them a last...

Atlanta survives wild fourth to stay alive: ATL: 87 BOS: 86

Both teams traded double digit leads in this game. The Boston Celtics in the second quarter and the Atlanta Hawks in the third. Neither team enjoyed such a lead in the fourth as the teams traded punches and the game was never far from a one or two possession game for very long. Both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 16 points for Boston but Al Horford, playing for the second...

Celtics 101, Hawks 79

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce ignited Boston's sizzling shooting start, scoring 24 points in just 16 1/2 minutes of action to carry the Celtics to a 101-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, giving Boston a 3-1 edge in the playoff series. Rajon Rondo added 20 points and 16 assists, and Kevin Garnett scored 13 points for the Celtics. Boston can wrap up the best-of-seven series...

Your Morning Dump... The minutes are already piling up

  Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. Rivers is most concerned with the minutes of the Big Four - Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (ankle) who returned to the lineup after nearly a month off.Rondo (45.6), Pierce (44.2)...

NBA Columnist Adrian Wojnarowski to Appear on 'Dennis and Callahan' as Celtics Prepare to Finish Off Atlanta Hawks

The Celtics made a statement with their 101-79 victory over the Hawks on Sunday night, and they'll look to finish the job Tuesday in Atlanta. Boston carries a 3-1 series lead into Philips Arena, but the team is also taking a load of injuries into the game. Paul Pierce is dealing with knee pain while Ray Allen continues to battle ankle soreness. And Avery Bradley and a host of...

Careless Whispers Tonight at 9 et!

Next time on Careless Whispers: Matt Rury discovers the meaning of life, but refuses to share it with Calvin Chamberlain.  The guys fight to near death and compromise on discussing the NBA playoffs, Cole Hamels’s supension, Paul Pierce’s “injuries”, and more!  Tune in tonight at 9 eastern.

Celtics-Hawks Preview

Boston's Big Three still has some life in those old bones. Thirty-somethings Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen led the Celtics to their most recent NBA championship in 2008, and this could be their last hurrah together in Beantown. If so, they're clearly looking to go out with a bang. ''They have pride,'' Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford said Monday...

Join Celtics Reporter Ben Watanabe for Twitter Q&A on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

The Celtics hold a 3-1 edge in their best-of-seven series with the Hawks, and have a chance to put Atlanta away on Tuesday night. Before the action tips off on the court, though, the action will be electric on Twitter. That's because Celtics beat writer Ben Watanabe will be tackling any Celtics or NBA questions you may have before Tuesday's Game 4. Whether you'...

Fiddlin' & Diddlin' - Daily Links 5/7

Herald  Celtics swoop in for kill Celtics mean business Steve Buckley: Truth be told, he’ll be ready Avery Bradley back in action Hawks down, not out Jrue Holiday steps up as Sixers take 3-1 lead on Bulls Hawks face playoff elimination after Celtics rout Playing short shifts reaps rewards for Kevin Garnett, Celtics Celtics win Game 4, 101-79 Globe  Celtics blow out Hawks...
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