End game, Celtics 87, Hawks 80 -- The Celtics have taken Game 2 from the Hawks at Philips Arena, a huge accomplishment given that they were without Rajon Rondo in this game. It takes homecourt advantage from the Hawks, and gives the momentum to a team that looked likely to go back to Boston down 2-0.
This game was all Paul Pierce, who finished the game with 36 points and 14 rebounds. Avery Bradley also acquitted himself well in the absence of Rondo, with 14 points and just one turnover.
We'll also have to see how bad this Josh Smith injury is.
Fourth quarter, 2:19, Celtics 81, Hawks 77 -- Josh Smith went into the locker room with an apparent injury. It was a sprained left knee. He's in the locker room, and is doubtful to return to the game.
Fourth quarter, 3:29, Celtics 79, Hawks 72-- Pierce finally gets the lead up past 2 with a dunk, then hits a 3-pointer to give him 32 points in Game 2. It was just about the perfect time for his first three of the series. Boston has been gutting out this game defensively in the fourth quarter, knowing how big it would be to steal a game in Atlanta without Rondo.
Fourth quarter, 5:08, Celtics 74, Hawks 72 -- The latest lead came on a two-handed dunk by Marquis Daniels. The Celtics could have added to that, but Pierce turned the ball over, a huge miscue at this stage of the game. It was Pierce's seventh turnover of the game.
Fourth quarter, 7:43, Celtics 68, Hawks 68 -- Apparently that help for Pierce? Coming from Bradley. He hit a jumper to tie the game at 66-66. A game that was spiraling out of control for the Celtics is going to come down to the final minutes of the game.
Fourth quarter, 9:38, Hawks 66, Celtics 64 -- Avery Bradley can't hit the second on a pair of free throws, but the Celtics have kept the Hawks scoreless in the fourth quarter so far.
End of third quarter, Hawks 66, Celtics 61 -- The Celtics looked stronger there at the end of the third quarter, going on a 7-1 run to finish it out. Pierce has 23 points and 10 rebounds so far in this game, but he needs more help than he's getting from the rest of the Celtics. Garnett and Bradley each have 9 points.
Third quarter, 2:52, Hawks 65, Celtics 54 -- Dooling hits another three to bring the lead down to 8, but Boston gives it right back. The Celtics need to make some noise here in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Third quarter, 5:20, Hawks 57, Celtics 49 -- It finally happened! It took until there was 6:36 left in the third quarter of Game 2, but the Celtics finally made a 3-pointer in this series. Credit Keyon Dooling for ending the drought.
Third quarter, 7:32, Hawks 55, Celtics 46 -- After a huddle in which Doc had some animated words for his team, the Celtics continue to lose ground to the Hawks. Doesn't look like Doc's words had the immediate effect he'd wanted.
Third quarter, 9:44, Hawks 49, Celtics 43 -- The Hawks started out the third quarter on a 5-0 run, helped by some Pierce turnovers. Neither team looks particular sharp in their return to the court after the break.
Halftime, Hawks 44, Celtics 41 -- While the Celtics have to be disappointed that they didn't capitalize on two possessions at the end of the first half to cut the lead further, this is a FAR better showing than in Game 1, even without Rajon Rondo. Still no 3-pointers in the series for the Celtics, but Pierce had 16 points in the first half. (Of course, only three of those came in the second quarter.) For the Hawks, Jeff Teague has been having himself a nice night, leading Atlanta with 12 points in the half.
Second quarter, 4:22, Hawks 38, Celtics 34 -- It's now a 9-0 run for the Hawks, including the fourth of the team's 3-pointers tonight. The Celtics still have yet to hit a single three in the series. The Hawks are back to pushing the pace, and it has been tough for the Celtics to match them when they do that, as evidenced in the first quarter of Game 1.
Second quarter, 4:50, Hawks 36, Celtics 34 -- Jeff Teague, who already had a ridiculous block on a three attempt by Dooling earlier in the game, drains a three of his own to tie the score. The Hawks take the lead on a dunk by Josh Smith.
Second quarter, 8:58, Celtics 28, Hawks 27 -- The Celtics have been keeping pace with the Hawks in the second quarter, even with names on the court that one might not have expected. Ryan Hollins has a couple of rebounds, and Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic have been getting minutes, giving Pierce a rest on the bench.
End of first quarter, Celtics 24-Hawks 24 -- The Celtics have yet to make a 3-pointer in the first two games of this series. They were 0-for-11 in Game 1, and are 0-for-5 so far tonight.
But while that might be the bad news, the good news is the Celtics are playing a heck of a lot better than they did in Game 1. And Pierce is already having a huge game, with 13 points and four rebounds.
First quarter, 4:06, Hawks 17, Celtics 16 Just as we're seeing a different Paul Pierce so far tonight, we're also seeing a different Joe Johnson. Johnson had a horrible shooting performance in Game 1, and said repeatedly that he didn't feel like he needed to do anything differently -- other than make shots. So far he's making shots in Game 2. He's 3-for-5 for seven points, including a three. He went 0-for-9 from three-point range on Sunday.
First quarter, 5:15, Celtics 15, Hawks 14 -- Mickael Pietrus has three quick fouls in this game, which could be huge for the Celtics. Pavlovic is in the game now, but that was definitely something that the Celtics did not need, already down their most important guard.
First quarter, 10:28, Celtics 7, Hawks 4 -- This one already feels different, with Paul Pierce knocking down his first three shots for the Celtics (and a field goal), and looking pretty determined. Much of the offense should run through him tonight, so his performance will be huge.
Pregame -- The Hawks are being announced here at Philips Arena and there are quite a few empty seats. Josh Smith complained about those empty seats after Game 1, and it doesn't seem like anyone in Atlanta listened. Perhaps everyone is just at the concession stands?
It will be important to see how the Celtics come out of the gate in this one. They were overwhelmed by the Hawks almost immediately in Game 1, going down by a large margin early, in many ways losing the game in the first quarter. The Celtics looked rusty and didn't have any rhythm at the start of that game. We'll see how they come out in this one shortly.