79 - 76 Final
  for this game

Celtics hold off Hawks

Mar 20, 2012 - 2:58 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ray Allen scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and sparked a fourth-quarter run that helped the Celtics hold off the Hawks, 79-76, at Philips Arena.

The Celtics shot 35 percent from the field over the first three quarters prior to making 50 percent (10-of-20) in the fourth.

The win, aided by Kevin Garnett's 16 points and Rajon Rondo's 10-point, 13- assist effort, pushed Boston to 3-3 on its eight-game road trip.

Atlanta, looking to extend a two-game winning streak, was led by Joe Johnson's game-high 25 points.

A defensive struggle through most of the slugfest picked up offensively when the Celtics appeared to pull away with a 13-0 run midway through the fourth.

Boston held a two-point lead before Allen highlighted the game-altering flurry with a pair of three-pointers, the last yielding a 73-58 cushion with just under 4 1/2 minutes remaining.

The margin reached 15 before Atlanta ripped off 11 straight points and pulled within 75-71 on a Johnson trey with 62 seconds on the clock.

Josh Smith had a chance to make it a one-point game the next time down but missed one from long range. Johnson grabbed the offensive rebound, but his jump-pass back to the perimeter was intercepted by Rondo.

Mickael Pietrus and Paul Pierce each went 1-for-2 at the foul line around a Zaza Pachulia putback, and another Johnson three-ball cut the deficit to 77-76 with 11.8 seconds left.

Allen calmly sank both free throws for a three-point game, and Jeff Teague air-balled a potential game-tying three as clock ticked toward zero.

"We were right where we wanted to be. ... We just wanted to give ourselves a chance to win," Johnson said. "We just missed a lot of shots we normally make."

The Hawks crawled to a 15-12 lead after the first period and led 33-31 after an equally offense-starved second frame. The Celtics committed 11 turnovers in the first half while shooting just 35 percent, which was actually one percentage point better than the Hawks' performance.

Atlanta never trailed in the third, but held a slim 51-50 lead after Allen nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

"Neither team could really get anything going," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "Either our defenses were sensational or our offenses were not. It was one of the two."

Game Notes

These teams meet two more times in April...Pierce scored 13 points for the Celtics, who also got six steals from Rondo...Pachulia posted his sixth double-double of the month with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Smith added 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in defeat...Both benches combined for just 21 points -- nine coming from Pietrus.