Rajon Rondo tallied a triple-double in a comeback victory as the Boston Celtics beat the Hawks 89-81 in Atlanta Saturday night.
Rondo finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists — his second triple-double of the season, tied with Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon for most in the NBA. Forwards Kevin Garnett (14) and Brandon Bass (10) combined for 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting (66.6%).
Paul Pierce poured in 17 of his team-high 26 points in the third quarter and helped the Celtics erase a 17-point halftime deficit. Boston outscored Atlanta 33-9 in the third and went into the fourth leading 71-62.
Atlanta controlled an early 31-18 advantage after the first quarter and extended the lead to 55-38 by halftime.
But then the Celtics woke up.
Boston came out of the locker room on a rampage as they revved up the intensity on the defensive end, started double-teaming the perimeter ball-handler, and clamped down in the post, allowing only nine points in the third quarter — the lowest point total allowed in quarter all season.
Meanwhile, the C’s canceled out the 17-point halftime deficit by scoring 33 points in the third and took a 71-62 lead into the fourth quarter. Boston cruised down the stretch for the 89-81 victory and outscored Atlanta 51-28 in the second half after giving up 53 points in the first half.
The Hawks were led by back court duo of Lou Williams and Jeff Teague, who combined for 45 of the team’s 81 points. Williams dropped a game-high 28 on 9-of-12 shooting, including going 5-of-8 from downtown, while Teague added 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with four assists and three steals. Josh Smith chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds but struggled the entire game shooting going 4-of-18 (22.2%) overall, including 1-of-5 (20%) from the perimeter. No other player for Atlanta scored in double-figures.
The Boston Celtics (16-17) head up north next game to The Mecca to face off against the New York Knicks (23-10) on Monday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 PM (ET).
The Atlanta Hawks (20-12) head up far north to play the Minnesota Timberwolves (15-15) on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 8:00 PM (ET).