Paul Pierce was ready for this game. Really ready. Pierce scored the first nine points for the Boston Celtics and finished the first half with a game-high 16 points, but the C's found themselves trailing the Atlanta Hawks, 44-41, at the break in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday night in Atlanta, GA.
Pierce made his first four field goals and had 13 points in the opening quarter, surpassing his point total in Game 1 (he scored 12 in Boston's 83-74 loss). The offense was there, but the defense was still lacking, and the two teams were tied at 24 at the end of the first quarter. A 20-17 second quarter gave Atlanta a three-point edge at the break.
Aside from Pierce, four other Celtics scored in the half. Avery Bradley looked much better than he did on Sunday, scoring nine, while Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass each scored six. Sasha Pavlovic scored four off the bench, accounting for the only Celtics' bench points. Boston is shooting 43.6 percent and is 0-for-17 from three-point range this series.
Jeff Teague came alive to power Atlanta, scoring 12 points, and Josh Smith had 10 points (he would have had 12 if not for an embarrassing missed dunk). Joe Johnson has nine points and Kirk Hinrich added eight points for the Hawks, who are shooting 41.9 percent.