Allan Ray drained a three as time expired to give the Celtics a one-point lead after the first period.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was worried about Atlanta center Zaza Pachulia before the game. It turns out the coach had reason to worry.
Pachulia had two points and five rebounds while holding Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins to six combined points in the first quarter.
“Zaza Petruglia gets very little credit, but he’s a pain in the [butt] to play against every night,” said Rivers. “After a physical game last night, I like that our big guys get a chance to face him. He’s tough.”
Josh Smith has eight points for the Hawks.
Paul Pierce leads all scorers with nine points. The Celtics captain is 2 of 5 from the field.