Paul Pierce scored 17 points in the third quarter as the Boston Celtics outscored the Atlanta Hawks, 33-9, in the period on the way to an 89-81 victory on Saturday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
"We wanted to bring the fight to the Hawks in the second half," said Pierce (via NBA.com). "We were kind of bickering with each other at halftime about what to do defensively, and I just reminded the guys that the fight isn't against us, it's against the other team. I told our guys we have to accept coaching. Doc was telling us what to do, and guys were getting angry with him. I told them the ones we need to be getting angry with is the other team."
The Celtics opened the game with a miserable first quarter, giving up 31 first quarter points to the Hawks-- 16 points came from Lou Williams (finished with 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting) -- on 60.0 percent shooting (12-for-20) and trailed 53-38, at halftime. Pierce would make 6-of-9 baskets in 12 minutes in the third quarter to spark the Celtics' comeback. Boston made 14-of-25 shots (56.0 percent) in the period and carried a nine-point advantage into the final quarter. The Hawks outscored the Celtics, 19-18, in the fourth, but it was too late.
Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett totaled 14 points and five boards. Brandon Bass was the only other Celtic to reach double figures with 10 points. Boston connected on 29-of-85 field goals (45.9 percent) and had 44 rebounds, 27 assists, 11 steals.
Jeff Teague had 17 points and Josh Smith accrued 12 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which was limited to 41.2 percent shooting (28-of-68) and finished with 36 rebounds, 18 assists and eight steals while committing 18 turnovers.
Boston brings its two-game winning streak into New York City for a battle with the Atlantic Division leading New York Knicks on Monday night (CSN/WEEI).
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