By Chris Vivlamore
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (MCT)
---- — BOSTON — No lead is safe when the Atlanta Hawks and Celtics play.
The Hawks erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime Friday night. The Celtics overcame a four-point deficit in the extra period.
Former Hawk Jason Terry drained a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to give the Celtics a 107-102 victory over the Hawks at the always raucous TD Garden. After a Hawks turnover, Terry sank two free throws to seal the victory.
The Hawks were expecting a playoff atmosphere and, boy, they got it.
A brief falter to start the final period led to the Hawks’ double-digit deficit. After Devin Harris’ basket to start the fourth quarter pulled the Hawks to within two points, 72-70, the Celtics went on an 8-0 run. The streak was added by four consecutive misses on Hawks possessions. The lead would grow to as many as 12 points.
However, the Hawks stormed back and tied the score, 92-92, on a 3-pointer by Kyle Korver with 1:31 remaining.
After trading baskets, the Celtics had the ball with 25 seconds remaining and held for a final shot, a miss by Kevin Garnett. The Hawks got the ball back with 2.2 seconds remaining, but a Josh Smith missed a hurried shot.
The Hawks led 98-94 in the extra period before the Celtics rallied with the help of 3-pointers by Jeff Green (which bounced high off the rim), Paul Pierce and Terry.
The Hawks (34-27) lost for the fourth time in five games.
Smith (32 points), Jeff Teague (26) and Al Horford (22) led the Hawks, who got only eight points from their bench.
The Celtics (34-27) won their ninth consecutive home game. They improved to 14-4 since losing All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points. Terry added 19 points.
In the two previous meetings between the teams this season, the Hawks couldn’t hold a 19-point lead in one loss and overcame a 27-point deficit in a double-overtime win.
The Hawks trailed by only four points, 72-68, going into the decisive final quarter. Smith scored 11 third-quarter points for the Hawks. Smith (20), Teague (18) and Horford (15) combined for 53 of the Hawks’ 68 points (78 percent) through three quarters The Celtics took a 52-47 lead into intermission after a back-and-forth first half.
The Celtics used an 8-0 run in the second quarter to build a 10-point advantage. The Hawks answered with a 13-2 run and took a brief lead with 2:46 left in the half on an Anthony Tolliver 3-pointer. The Celtics took the halftime cushion by ending with a 9-3 run.
The first half featured 11 lead changes, nine in the first quarter, and two ties.
Pierce had 13 first-half points for the Celtics. Terry had 10 second-quarter points. Teague had 12 for the Hawks.
Korver had his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer extended to 54.
The Hawks played without Zaza Pachulia (right Achilles) and Ivan Johnson (personal reasons). Coach Larry Drew used many combinations in an attempt to match up with the Celtics.
©2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
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