Atlanta – Al Horford scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted three shots to lift the Atlanta Hawks to an 87-86 victory over the Boston Celtics. Horford in only his second game back from the pectoral strain that forced him to miss most of the season gave the Hawks a tremendous effort in helping to stave off elimination at the hands of the Celtics.
The Hawks came out fired up and determined to avenge the whipping the Celtics gave them in Boston on Sunday. It was looking like Boston was on its way to another easy victory though after a strong start that had them leading by six points after the first quarter.
Boston would extend its lead to nine in the first 4:53 of the second quarter until the Hawks started hitting shots. The Hawks stormed back towards the end of the second quarter to send the two teams into halftime tied 40-40.
The Hawks would continue their hot shooting in the third pulling out to a 12-point lead before allowing the Celtics to make a run. The Celtics brought the lead back down to two points by the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter would be a slugfest as the Celtics fought to finish off the Hawks and the Hawks fought for their playoff lives. Horford would contribute eight of his game high 19 in the fourth quarter while Josh Smith poured in seven of his 13 to help the Hawks outlast the Celtics and extend the series for one more game.
Josh Smith also contributed 16 rebounds and a team-high six assists to go along with his 13 points. The Hawks are still behind in the series 3-2 with Game 6 set to be played Thursday in Boston.
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