Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hawks 105 – Celtics 97: Another fourth quarter collapse leads to ninth straight loss

Atlanta – For the second consecutive game the Celtics let a lead slip away late in the fourth quarter as they missed an opportunity to crush the Hawks playoff hopes last night, in a, 105-97, loss at the Philips Arena.

Jeff Teague scored 19 points in the win and Kyle Korver added 17 including two crucial 3-pointers to help keep Atlanta’s playoff hopes alive.

Paul Millsap chipped in with 14 points and 14 rebounds, six Atlanta players finished in double figures on the night. The Hawks now have a two game lead over New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We easily could’ve hung our heads there, but we kept fighting, got some good looks and we knocked them down,” said Korver. “The momentum switched our way, and we could just feel it. The game turned really quickly.”

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 24 points while Rajon Rondo added another double-double within the season scoring 19 points and added 12 assists. Jared Sullinger who started in place of the injured Kris Humphries, also registered a double-double of his own finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Green contributed with 13 points and six rebounds in the loss, their ninth consecutive.

“In the second half we had a big lead and we let them back in it,” Rondo said. “We have to get stops, and I start with myself and turning the ball over. They turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter and took us out of our offense.”

Atlanta led by as much as 14 points in the second quarter after a Shelvin Mack 3-pointer to make it 49-35 with 6:31 remaining in the half, before Rondo scored seven straight points in the last 2:34 to cut the lead to 56-51 at halftime.

Boston continued to turn up the defense that lead to Rondo finding open teammates including a fastbreak, halfcourt pass to Jeff Green that lead to an easy layup. Halfway through the third a running Rondo jumper on Teague gave Boston their first lead of the game 67-66.

The Celtics maintained their lead as they finished the third on a 21-9 run heading into the fourth, it seemed like they would run away with this one. After a pair of made free throws from Rondo pushed Boston’s lead to nine, their largest of the night with 5:44 left in the game.

Teague and Korver decided to take over in the next 4:31 as the Hawks went on a 19-3 run including a dagger 3-ball by Korver to regain the lead 93-92 and never lead up the rest of the way as Boston failed to make stops.

The two Atlanta guards of Korver and Teague ended the quarter for a combined 18 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals to end game and give Boston their 13 straight road loss in the process.

The Celtics will fly home to take on the red hot Charlotte Bobcats at the TD Garden, they look to snap their current losing streak with just four games remaining on the schedule. Tip-off is at 7:30.

Game Notes:
Boston only shot 44-percent from the floor to Atlanta’s 52-percent on the night. Avery Bradley returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games with a strained right Achilles tendon. Kris Humphries did not travel with the team after undergoing an MRI on his right knee. According to the results, there is no structural damage to the meniscus. Rajon Rondo played in Atlanta for the first time last night since tearing his ACL in the same arena back on January 25, 2013.

Joel Pavón

No comments:

Post a Comment