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Celtics Vs. Hawks: Atlanta Defends Home Court With 83-74 Win In Game 1

The Atlanta Hawks survived a second half run by the Boston Celtics to take Game 1 by a score of 83-74. The Hawks struggled with their execution once again in the second half but it was Boston this time that lost its composure late.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo lost it late in the game when a foul was called against the Celtics during a struggle for a loose ball. Rondo was hit with a technical foul by referee Mark Davis and then proceeded to bump Davis before being ejected. The Celtics must now wait for the league office to rule on whether or not Rondo will be suspended for contact with an official.

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Atlanta jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and made it hold up at the end. The Celtics cut the lead to within six in the closing minutes but the Rondo explosion helped the Hawks hang on for the victory.

Josh Smith led the way for the Hawks with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 15 points and six rebounds including a three-pointer and a runner in the lane at crunchtime. Kirk Hinrich hit four threes to finish with 12 points. Atlanta wins despite an off night shooting the basketball from Joe Johnson who was just 3 of 15 from the floor and 0 for 9 from beyond-the-arc for 11 points.

Rondo carried the Celtics early finishing with 20 points and 11 assists while hitting 10 of 18 field goal attempts. Kevin Garnett started slow but was big late finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Paul Pierce struggled to 12 points on 5 of 19 shooting. Avery Bradley added 10 points in the loss.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for Tuesday night at Philips Arena.

For more on the Hawks-Celtics playoff series check out Peachtree Hoops and CelticsBlog. For more news and notes regarding the NBA Playoffs head over to SB Nation's NBA Basketball page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.