--If the Hawks cannot recover from their fumble here and this loss ends up costing them this series, they'll point at the eight-minute drought after halftime that basically sealed the deal.
Coach Larry Drew stuck with his reserves during that stretch, and the Celtics walked them down methodically, slashing an 11-point lead down to just two.
Drew said he was simply trying to buy time for his stars to rest, knowing the Celtics were going to make a run anyway. But his plan backfired and the Hawks suffered because of it.
"If I could go back and do it all over again," Drew said, "I'd most certainly do it the same way."
--Pierce added insult to injury against the Hawks, a team he has carved up routinely since they met in the 2008 playoffs, by striking the Tebow pose at midcourt late with the game already decided.
"With the way he played," Joe Johnson said, "nothing would surprise me. We didn't hold up our end of the bargain and now we have to go to their place and try to steal one the same way they did us."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Paul (Pierce) was great tonight. His leadership was key. We went small so that he could get some rest on the defensive end. It was definitely a team win, with so many guys pitching in tonight. I called a timeout in the fourth quarter right after another timeout, simply to give our guys rest. I didn't actually have anything to tell them. I wanted to give Paul a rest early in the fourth quarter, but I just couldn't with the way the game was going." -- Coach Doc Rivers on the Truth, aka Paul Pierce.
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