100-91: Hawks Top Celtics, Take Best Record In East (Non-Cavs Division)

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10 Reasons The Celtics Can't Beat The Hawks

Two years ago, the Celtics beat the Hawks in a seven-game playoff series. Even though it went the distance, the clear conclusion was that the Hawks were still Boston’s little brother.

That clearly cannot be said any longer. With last night’s 100-91 win, the Hawks completed a four-game season series sweep of the Celtics. We’re not talking about a fluke anymore, we’re talking about a trend. The Hawks officially own the Celtics.

How have the Hawks done it? SB Nation’s Celtics Blog gives 10 reasons for Atlanta’s success against the C’s this season. Check it out if you’re a Celtics fan still searching for answers or an NBA fan that loves seeing Celtics fans overanalyze.

(We love you, Celtics fans. I come in peace. I promise. Embrace your obsessiveness.).

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In Progress: Celtics, Hawks Battle For Best Record In East (Non-Cavs Division)

For more, check out our Hawks blog, Peachtree Hoops, and our Celtics blog...wait for it...CelticsBlog.

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Jamal Crawford finished with 28 points and six assists, as the Atlanta Hawks completed a season sweep of Boston with a 100-91 win over the Celtics at Philips Arena.

Boston won all four games against Atlanta last season, and all three in 2007-08, but the Hawks reversed course this season. Friday's game put the finishing touches on the feat, which the Hawks haven't done since the 1998-99 campaign, when they won all three games against the Celtics. Atlanta hadn't swept a four-game season series with Boston since 1995-96.

"We can stand up a little bit," Crawford said. "We won't stick our chests out yet. But we can stand straight up and look them eye-to-eye, that's for sure. I think we're continuing to get better."

Joe Johnson had 27 points for Atlanta, which has won four of five overall. Josh Smith had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the victory, while Al Horford added 11 points and eight boards.

Paul Pierce shot 11-of-15 and finished with a season-high 35 points for Boston, which shot just 34 percent aside from Pierce. Kevin Garnett added 15 points and seven rebounds as the Celtics lost their second in a row.

"I give them all the credit," Pierce said. "They played hard for four games. They took care of business like we did to them last year. We've still got the playoffs."

Boston led early and was up 16-7 late in the first quarter. But Atlanta scored the next eight, and Crawford's three at the buzzer gave the Hawks a 23-22 edge.

Atlanta used an eight-point burst early in the second quarter to take control. Zaza Pachulia's layup with 7:13 to play ended the stretch for a 37-26 advantage, and the Hawks played in front the rest of the half, taking a 53-41 lead into the break.

But Boston scored seven straight points early in the third to stay close, as Pierce's two foul shots got the Celtics within 57-50. Boston continued to trail but never let its deficit get out of hand, then made it a one-possession game late in the period.

A Pierce technical free throw, followed by two foul shots by Garnett, brought the Celtics within 72-69 with 2:50 to play. They were within 74-73 moving to the fourth.

It was still a one-point game early in the final quarter, but Johnson responded with a personal seven-point run. That was part of a larger 11-2 Hawks flurry that he ended with a jumper for an 89-79 advantage with five minutes to play.

Boston rallied to get within 93-88 on a Rasheed Wallace free throw with 1:34 left, but Johnson answered with a jumper. After Wallace missed a three, Crawford sealed the win with a dunk with just over a minute remaining.

Johnson scored 16 points in the fourth quarter...The Hawks had 29 fast break points, compared to eight for the Celtics...Kendrick Perkins had 12 rebounds for Boston.

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