The Atlanta Hawks successfully staved off elimination with an 87-86 win in Game 5 over the Boston Celtics. The victory snaps the Celtics' three game winning streak in the series and forces a Game 6 back in Boston on Thursday.
The game was not without its on share of drama however. Atlanta built an 11 point lead in the third quarter and watched it quickly vanish in the quarter's final moments. The lead see-sawed back and forth throughout the fourth quarter with Paul Pierce missing a late attempt that would have given the Celtics the lead. Atlanta wasn't out of the woods yet as Rajon Rondo stole a Josh Smith inbounds pass on the final possession but some nice defense from Al Horford and Smith prevented the Celtics from getting off a shot.
Horford playing in just his second game back from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle was magnificent. In 41 minutes, Hoford finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. That amount of minutes was probably more than Larry Drew intended to play Horford but the Hawks needed every last one to extend the series.
Josh Smith finished with 13 points, 16 rebounds and six assists and came alive in the fourth quarter after struggling his way through the first half. Jeff Teague added 16 points while Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams finished with 15 points each. Williams in particular came up with a big stretch in the second quarter. Williams hit 5 of 9 shots including 3 of 6 from beyond-the-arc after struggling for much of the series.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce each finished with 16 points for the Celtics. Ray Allen added 15 points off the bench and Brandon Bass chipped in 14. Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points and 12 assists.