Losers of four straight games, the Celtics came out of the gate roaring, but completely fell apart in the second half in an ugly 109-105 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.
The C’s jumped out to a 42-30 lead after the first quarter, with Jeff Green scoring 14 points and Rajon Rondo dishing out seven assists in the opening frame.
The Celtics led by as many as 23 points in the contest, but the Hawks came all the way back to tie the game in the third quarter and took the lead in the early part of the fourth.
The Hawks outscored the Celtics by 20 points in the second half en route to their four-point win. This was the fifth time this season that the Celtics blew a lead of at least 15 points.
Green and Jared Sullinger both scored 25 points while Avery Bradley had 18, but it was not enough to prevent the C’s fifth straight loss. Rajon Rondo finished the game with 19 assist, a career-high for road contests; his previous high had been 17.
The Celtics have now lost eight of their past nine games; they come back to Boston on Wednesday to take on the Detroit Pistons at the TD Garden.