Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Celtics 89 - Hawks 88: Turner shocks Atlanta

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Boston - As the snow continued to pile up in city, fans got to celebrate yet another win for one of their home teams. This time the 19-31 Celtics looked to head into the All-Star break on a high note, especially against the Eastern Conference leading Hawks. It wasn't the prettiest of shooting nights for the C's, but Evan Turner reminded us all why he doesn't fold under pressure when the game matters most.

After being down 18-points, the TD Garden faithful erupted on a Celtics rally capped off with a Turner floater leaving 0.2 seconds on the clock in a 89-88 victory. Atlanta heads into the weekend with a 43-11 record on the season.

Jared Sullinger led five-Celtics players in double-figures (shooting 6-of-15 from the field, 1-of-2 from 3), finishing with 17 points and a game-high; 15 rebounds (5 offensive). Marcus Thornton continues to showcase his great outside shooting (4-of-6 from behind the arc) to either remain in green or be moved by next week, added 14 points in 25 minutes off the bench.

The hero of the night; Evan Turner, chipped in 12 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds to go along with the game winner, giving the Celtics their 20th win at the 'halfway' point.

"I made the move and [Bradley] was like, 'S--t, Evan!'" Turner explained. "I was like, 'You're going to hug me in a second.'" 

Atlanta; who will send four-all stars to this Sunday's festivities have lost two in three-games after winning a team-record 19-straight just 10 days ago.

Al Horford finished with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll added 14 points, while Paul Millsap contributed with 11 points in the loss.

The Celtics began their night scoring 13-first-quarter points on 18.5- percent shooting, including going 1-of-11 from 3. It didn't get much better either throughout the half as they were down 49-34 by intermission. The Hawks continued to make shots, but the C's hung around as the deficit was only 11 going into the final frame.

Halfway through the fourth the Celtics were still down 84-75 before going on a 7-0 run. After a Marcus Smart (11 points) 3-ball cut the lead to two with 2:12 left to play. Avery Bradley made one of his own to make it a one-point game 86-85. With 15 seconds remaining, a driving Jeff Teague missed a runner that could have iced it for the Hawks. Instead, Brad Stevens called timeout and drew up a play down 88-87 with 6.4 ticks left.

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Turner dribbled behind his back to his right hand at the top of the key, cut into the lane for a floating jumper off his finger tips...swish...ball game.

"For 47 minutes, 59.8 seconds, we were the losing team," said Brad Stevens.

That's why you play 48 minutes, because any thing can happen! The Celtics kept chipping away and chipping away again after being down 18. Despite most of the 'star-studded' Hawks probably checking out to New York mentally, (All-Star reserve Kyle Korver scored 4 points on 5 shots, all 3-point attempts) Jeff Teague recorded 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. Say what you want, but the C's defense also had a lot to do with holding one of the NBA's best teams to only 88 points.

The Celtics were also able to out-rebound Atlanta 56-44, including 16 offensive boards to the Hawks' 5.

"I don't think [the Hawks] played their best game," Stevens said. "They've been on the road for three games; they've had a miraculous couple of months of basketball. They missed some shots late, and we were fortunate."

Boston will have the next nine days off before heading to Sacramento on February 20 to take on the Kings. Tip-off will be at 10:30 EST.

Game Notes:

The C's shot 32.3 percent (30-93) from the field (28.4 percent through three quarters and 47.4 percent in the fourth) and 32.3 percent from behind the arc (10-31). The last time the Celtics won a game shooting only 32.3 from the floor, was November 11, 1965 in a 87-83 victory over the then St. Louis Hawks. Kelly Olynyk missed his 11th straight game with a sprained right ankle, and will not participate in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.

Joel Pavón
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