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Celtics Vs. Hawks, 2012 NBA Playoffs Game 2: Atlanta Falls 87-80 As Boston Evens Series

The Atlanta Hawks couldn't sustain an 11 point lead and suffer an 87-80 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 2. Even more potentially problematic is that Josh Smith left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained knee and did not return.

Without Smith, Atlanta's comeback attempt fell way short as they struggled there way to just 14 points in the fourth quarter. Boston's defense once again stymied the Hawks who seemed to relax once their lead reached double figures.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 22 points and five assists on 7 of 17 shooting. Jeff Teague played 41 minutes and scored 18 points but was just 6 of 18 from the floor. Josh Smith finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists before exiting the game in the fourth. Atlanta didn't get much from their bench in that Marvin Williams and Ivan Johnson combined for just nine points on 3 of 13 shooting.

Paul Pierce came up huge for the Celtics finishing with 36 points and 14 rebounds. Pierce hit 12 of 26 field goal attempts and was 11 of 13 from the free throw line. Kevin Garnett added 15 points and Avery Bradley 14 for Boston.

The Hawks shoot just 35 percent from the floor and were out rebounded 45-40 by the Celtics. Boston came up with a 20-16 advantage in fast-break points even without the suspended Rajon Rondo.

The series shifts to Boston for Games 3 & 4 and the Hawks will be holding their breath while they wait for a diagnosis on Josh Smith.

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.