The Atlanta Hawks were shorthanded on Thursday night against the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics. They could ill afford an off shooting night from Josh Smith. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
Smith scored just one point on 0-for-8 shooting from the field and Al Horford finished with eight points and seven rebounds as the Hawks dropped a 102-90 decision to the Celtics at the Garden. Paul Pierce had 15 points and 10 boards and Ray Allen and Glen Davis added 18 each for Boston, which won its 12th straight game.
While this one wasn't as ugly as the first matchup between the two clubs, a 99-76 loss in Atlanta that was not even as close as the final score, there were some eerie similarities to Atlanta Nov. 22 pasting at Philips Arena. Boston (21-4) was once again without its starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who will miss at least a week with a sprained right ankle. And they turned to Nate Robinson in his stead. Robinson made the transition seemingless, posting 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting from the field.
On the other side of the coin, certain key Hawks struggled. However, no one's struggles were bigger than that of Smith. The Atlanta forward, who notched just two points on 0-for-3 shooting from the field in the Nov. 22 loss, was even more putrid in this one, missing all of his eight shots from the field and another from the free throw line. Al Horford also had a subpar evening, finishing with eight points and seven boards
Atlanta fought its way through the first three quarters and trailed by six entering the final period. The Hawks never had a chance to regain the lead as the Celtics cruised to the 12-point win.
Marvin Williams had a game-high 26 points and Jeff Teague added 18 for Atlanta (16-11), which has dropped 11 of its last 21 games after starting the season with six straight wins.