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The Boston Celtics continue to play like a team of champions. After defeating the Miami Heat on Tuesday, the team beat the Atlanta Hawks in overtime, 88-86, Wednesday night on the road. The Celtics could very well face the Hawks again in the first round of the playoffs.
Garnett was a key contributor for Boston, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had a triple double before the game went to the five-minute overtime, as he scored 10 points with 10 rebounds and a game-high 20 assists – the same as the entire Atlanta team. Rondo has now recorded double-digit assists in each of his last 19 games.
Paul Pierce drained the biggest shot of the night Wednesday, connecting on the eventual game winner with 3:25 remaining in overtime. The shot gave Boston an 88-84 lead, overshadowing a night in which Pierce shot 6-for-19 from the floor and 1-for-8 from three-point range. He also committed four turnovers.
The Celtics needed only two baskets to win in overtime, but Brandon Bass contributed one of them. He also reeled in two huge rebounds – a surprisingly good stat for Boston Wednesday. Though rebounding has been an Achilles heel all season long, the Celtics won the battle on the boards against the Hawks, 56-39.
Mickael Pietrus returned to action for the first time since March 23, giving Boston a nice boost while looking like he hadn’t lost a step. Pietrus hit one of his two three-point attempts and ended up with eight points. Consistent contributions from Pietrus like in Wednesday’s game could go a long way for the Celtics in the postseason.
The teams traded clutch baskets in the final minute of regulation from Bass and Hawks guard Joe Johnson that kept the score deadlocked 84-84, and a relatively quiet overtime period ended the low-scoring game. An excellent showing from two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, a first-round postseason match-up between them now seems very exciting.
The teams will play again on April 20 in Atlanta, but next up the Celtics head to Toronto, where they will face the Raptors on Friday night.