In a pivotal Game 5, the Hawks routed the Celtics, 110-83, Tuesday night at Philips Arena to avenge two straight road losses in the best-of-seven series. Atlanta leads the Eastern Conference first-round series 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday back in Boston with a chance to move on to the second round on the line.
The Hawks led by as many as 33 points in the lopsided victory that they broke open in the third quarter.
Five Hawks scored in double figures: Mike Scott (17), Jeff Teague (16), Kent Bazemore (16), Kyle Korver (13) and Paul Millsap (10).
The Hawks outscored the Celtics 42-23 in the third period to take a commanding 89-62 lead. They went on a 23-5 run, which included an 18-1 stretch, to end the quarter. The Hawks started the run with four 3-pointers out of five baskets. Korver, Scott, Millsap and Dennis Schroder all connected from long range and the route was on.
Korver had 10 points in the quarter.
“We’ve got to get back to playing with pace and moving the ball,” Teague said before the game. “Get back to playing with motion. I think we did a lot of pick and roll, a lot of isolation in the last two games. We talked about that today, getting back to playing with our regular pace with motion and using screens, things like that.” The Hawks had 30 assists on 42 field goals.
The Hawks held Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas to just seven points after he scored 42 and 28 points in Games 3 and 4 in Boston. He left in fourth quarter with a mild left ankle sprain and did not return.
The Hawks got off to an ice-cold start. They trailed 20-15 after one quarter as they shot a meagre 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from the field. The Celtics were only marginally better at 31.8 percent (7-of-22) in a quarter that sent the game of basketball back. The Celtics pushed their lead to double-digits, 29-19, early in the second quarter.
And then a fire started and the frigid start melted. The Hawks went on a 26-6 run to turn their 10-point deficit into a 10-point lead. During they run they made 11 straight baskets. The run started with a Millsap basket with 5:58 left in the second quarter, his first make after four misses and making 1 of 4 free throws. Bazemore hit three 3-pointers during the run.
In the second period, the Hawks outscored the Celtics 32-19 and shot 48 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range.
That was just the start. Interestingly, top players from both teams failed to score in the first half. Al Horford was 0-of-8 from the field for the Hawks and Thomas was 0-of-4 from the field for the Celtics. Each scored the first basket for their team to start the second half.
Thomas was booed every time he touched the ball. It was a measure of payback from the Philips Arena crowd after they similarly booed Schroder after their Game 3 incident.
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