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Turner lifts Celtics over Hawks

Feb 12, 2015 - 6:25 AM Boston, MA ( - The Boston Celtics led for only 0.2 seconds Wednesday, but it was when it mattered most.

Evan Turner's runner just before the buzzer gave the Celtics a stunning 89-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks despite trailing by 18 at one point and shooting just 32 percent from the field.

The Hawks were well on their way to becoming the fifth team in NBA history to win 44 games before the All-Star break, but the Celtics rallied behind Jared Sullinger, rookie Marcus Smart and Turner's game-winner.

Sullinger finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Smart scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help send Boston into the break with victories in four of its last five games.

Al Horford finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and fellow All-Star Jeff Teague added 10 points and eight assists for the Hawks, who shot an uncharacteristic 33 percent from the field in the second half.

Atlanta's two other representatives heading to New York this weekend, Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver, had especially off nights, combining to shoot 4-of-16 from the field (25 percent) for 15 points.

"We didn't say focused for the whole 48 minutes," Millsap said.

It looked like a blowout early as the Hawks scored 16 of the first 18 points. DeMarre Carroll assisted on three of the first four baskets and capped the quick surge with a three-point play just over five minutes in.

Had it not been for the Celtics' 14-0 advantage in second-chance points, the difference would have been bigger than the 49-34 hole they faced entering the second half.

Boston shot an ugly 24.5 percent from the field in the first half compared to Atlanta's 51.3 percent accuracy, but it won the third quarter and was down a manageable 11 points, 72-61, heading into the final frame.

An 8-0 run in the middle stages of the fourth pulled the Celtics within 79-73, and a Smart 3-pointer made it an 84-82 game with 2:18 remaining.

Atlanta had two cracks inside the final minute to build off its 88-87 lead, but Carroll missed a 3-pointer and Teague was off the mark on a runner.

After Boston called a timeout with 6.4 seconds on the clock, Turner drove left, dribbled behind his back to create space away from Carroll and let the deciding bucket fly from just inside the free throw line.

"We just wanted to get it into Evan's hands," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of the final play.

Game Notes

Atlanta had won a franchise record 13 consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams ... Carroll totaled 14 points, as did Boston's Marcus Thornton .. Boston held a 23-6 advantage in second-chance points and a 56-44 rebounding edge.