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Celtics Outlast Hawks in OT Thriller

Paul Pierce drives to the basket on Friday night at TD Garden as the Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Boston Celtics improved to a miraculous 14-4 record since the season-ending injury to Rajon Rondo after a dramatic comeback by the visiting Atlanta Hawks was spoiled by a tie-breaking three-point shot by Jason Terry in overtime that led to a 107-102 win. The Celtics improved to 34-27, an identical record to their Eastern Conference rivals the Hawks, who nearly took the air out of TD Garden after erasing a 12-point deficit with 6:35 remaining in regulation.

Terry proved to be a difference maker in the victory, as he gave the Celtics the lead with 35 seconds left in OT, and contributed 19 points off the bench. Terry hit three of his four three-point attempts, and was one of four Celtics in double figures on the night.

“I was brought here to make big shots and make plays and be a spark off the bench,” Terry said. And that’s exactly what he managed to do for Boston in front of the home crowd. With the team continuing to fight through adversity without team leader Rajon Rondo, Terry and bench mate Jeff Green stepping up is for the Celtics is huge.

Green had another big night, putting up 12 points of his own off the bench and slamming home a monster dunk on the Hawks defense. The majority of the Celtics offense came from Paul Pierce, who put up a team-high 27 points to go along with seven assists and rebounds.

Meanwhile, former trade target Josh Smith had a game-high 32 with nine assists and eight rebounds. The 27-year old has often been sought out by the Celtics, and he put up one of his best games against them in recent memory.

The Celtics let a game they had control of slip away in the final minutes, but regained their composure thanks to a big go-ahead shot by Terry late in overtime. A win is a win, and this team is going to need them to reach the postseason and have a fair chance. Boston’s next game comes on Sunday where they’ll do battle with the 46-16 Thunder in Oklahoma City.

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