The inability to play 48 minutes of basketball has been detrimental to the Celtics  this season. But on Friday, they had difficulty playing just 12. The C’s jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the first but failed to maintain the advantage. The Hawks  quickly erased their deficit, kicked up their energy, and controlled the rest of the game.
In the end, the Celtics were outscored 29-8 on fastbreak points. The combination of the Hawks’ athleticism and long-range shooting dealt the Celtics a 100-91 loss on Friday in Atlanta. (Recap .) The Hawks completed a 4-0 sweep of the regular season series.
Turning Point: The C’s were up by nine with 3:40 to go in the first quarter until the Hawks picked up their energy and began slicing away at the lead. When Jamal Crawford  drained a halfcourt buzzer-beater to end the quarter, the Celtics found themselves trailing by one. The shift in momentum set the tone for the rest of the game.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce  scored a game-high 35 points (11-15 FG, 12-13 FT) for the Celtics in the losing effort. On Friday, though, it was a different player who took over in the fourth. Joe Johnson  scored 16 points in the fourth alone (27 for the game), and his three-pointer in the face of Pierce with a minute to go iced the win.
– The Celtics’ second unit hurt their team tonight. Not only were they unable to prevent the Hawks from adding to their lead early in the second quarter, but they also made it difficult for Doc Rivers  to give his starters a rest. The Celtics bench was outscored 44-18.
– The Celtics have lost two in a row, and dropped to 4-5 in back-to-back games. They will return to Boston to face the Lakers on Sunday.