Celts Blow 23-Point Lead in Loss at Atlanta
ATLANTA — (AP) Kyle Korver scored 24 points, and the Atlanta Hawks rallied to beat the struggling Boston Celtics 109-105 on Tuesday night.
Paul Millsap added 19 points for Atlanta, which has won three straight and five of six. Korver went 6 for 7 from 3-point range.
Boston has lost five straight and eight of nine. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger had 25 points apiece for the Celtics, and Rajon Rondo set a season high with 19 assists.
Atlanta led 103-94 but Boston stayed close with 3-pointers from Evan Turner and Sullinger. Green’s three-point play with 49 seconds remaining trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 107-105.
Following a missed jumper by Millsap, Boston called timeout with 23.8 seconds remaining. Green missed a short jumper, and a breakaway layup by Kent Bazemore iced Atlanta’s win.
The Celtics got off to a fast start and led by as many as 23 points in the first half. But the Hawks erased much of Boston’s lead with a big third quarter and then pulled ahead early in the final period.
Boston shot 61 percent from the field and led 66-50 at the break. Rondo had 14 assists at intermission.
After going 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, the Celtics resumed their hot shooting in the opening minutes of the third period. Sullinger and Avery Bradley sank 3-pointers on the Celtics’ first two possessions for a 72-50 lead. Following a basket by Sullinger, the Celtics then cooled off while managing only one field goal — a jam by Green — during a 20-5 Atlanta run that cut the lead to 79-72.
A short jumper by Millsap cut the Boston lead to three points late in the third — the Celtics’ smallest advantage since early in the game.
The Hawks continued the comeback in the opening minutes of the final period. A 3-pointer by Bazemore tied it at 85. A three-point play by Dennis Schroder gave Atlanta an 88-85 lead for its first advantage since the opening minutes.
Celtics: Bradley had 18 points. … C Tyler Zeller had eight points in his second straight start as Kelly Olynyk again played in a reserve role. .. G Marcus Smart did not make the trip as he missed his 10th straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Boston’s 66 first-half points were one below its season high against Brooklyn in a 121-105 win to open the season.
Hawks: The Hawks outscored the Celtics 30-19 in the third. Korver had 10 points, including two 3-pointers, in the period. … Korver passed Glen Rice for 16th in made 3-pointers. Korver began the night three behind Rice’s 1,559. … Schroder had 15 points.
Celtics: Host Detroit on Wednesday.
Hawks: At Miami on Wednesday.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press