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In a game reminiscent of last year’s playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks, it went down to the final seconds for the winner to be decided. The Celtics pulled it out with a clutch turn-in hook-shot from Kevin Garnett and two free throws from Ray Allen to seal the 88-85 win.
Kendrick Perkins proved he’s still a beast with a monster game. He had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots including a huge block in the final seconds. Joe Johnson missed a jumper and, gathering the rebound, went up for the quick put-back. Perk was ready with a perfectly timed jump and swatted the ball up towards Rondo, who was subsequently fouled moving up the court.
The starting five excelled with Paul Pierce, despite the injured knee, having a strong night with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Rajon Rondo stole four balls, made seven assists, six rebounds, and ended up 15 points with on 7-12 shooting. Ray Allen added 16 points and five boards.
One low-light for the Celtics was their bench production with only 13 points. However, the starting five held a stranglehold over the playing time, so coming off the bench and being productive, in such an intense game like this one, is certainly a difficult task.
Celtics outscored Hawks 29-23 in the 4th quarter. Garnett was clutch in the fourth, scoring 10 of his 18 points. Defensively, the Celtics successfully contained Joe Johnson, limiting him to 20 points, and only 1-7 from three-point range.
The Celtics have tied the ’64 – ’65 Celtics 16-game win streak and look to make it 17 in a row against the Bulls at home in Boston. The Celtics are 24-2 on the season.