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Fast Break: Celtics – Hawks

11.13.09 at 10:43 pm ET

Ever since the 2008 playoffs, games against the Hawks have been some of the most intense contests for the Celtics. Friday night was no different. The Hawks upset the Celtics 97-86 in Boston.

Player of the game: Joe Johnson dropped 14 points in the second half to push the Hawks to a win. He fought to get open the entire night and attempted 21 shots. But it would be unfair to name Johnson based on his offensive performance in a game that was won by defense. Al Horford added 11 rebounds for the Hawks.

Turning point: The Hawks held the Celtics to two points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to take control of the game. They outscored the Celtics 25-16 in the final 12 minutes to keep a Cs win out of reach.

Paul Pierce suffered a bruised left knee and left the game with 3:15 left in the third quarter. He fell to the ground during a play at the basket earlier in the quarter and limped to the bench during a timeout. He returned to the game two minutes into the fourth quarter. Pierce led all Celtics with 24 points.

– The Hawks dominated the boards from the very start of the game and outrebounded the Celtics 47-29. A breakdown by quarter ‘€“ first: Hawks 12-4, second: 13-9, third: 11-10, fourth: 11-6.

– The Celtics failed to connect on key free throws down the stretch. Rajon Rondo missed two, down nine with 3:24 to go. Pierce only hit one of two when the Celtics were down seven with 2:21 left in the game. The Celtics finished the night 17-for-23 from the line.

– It was an ugly three-point shooting night for the second game in a row. On Wednesday night the Celtics shot 7-for-19 and held the Jazz to 0-for-10. On Friday it was the Celtics who struggled, shooting 1-15 while the Hawks were 4-15.

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