Celtics blow 27-point lead, lost to Hawks in double o.t.

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Celtics blow 27-point lead, lost to Hawks in double o.t.

ATLANTA Getting out of the rut that has become the 2012-13 season for the Boston Celtics isn't going to be easy.

And maybe the worst setback of them all happened Friday night as Boston blew a ridiculously large lead in losing 123-111 in double overtime to Atlanta.

Boston led by as many as 27 points - 27 points! - only to turn in one of the worst second half showings of the season that allowed Atlanta to get back into the game and eventually pull out the victory.

Josh Smith converted a 3-point play early in the second overtime. Soon after that, Kevin Garnett, who had 24 points, picked up his sixth personal foul trying to grab his own miss.

With Garnett on the bench, Al Horford wasted no time going straight to the rim for a lay-up that put the Hawks ahead 112-107 with 3:21 to play in the second overtime.

There was still plenty of time left, but the C's were an exhausted bunch at this point when you consider they played less than 24 hours earlier while the Hawks were at home, resting up for tonight's game.

Still, that's no excuse for losing this game, not after dominating play with such an authoritative manner only to give it away.

Boston (20-23) has now lost six straight for the first time this season.

The C's haven't gone this long without a win since the 2006-2007 season when they had three separate losing streaks of six games of more, one of which was a franchise-worst 18 straight.

All of Boston's losses have hurt, but it's hard to imagine one stinging more than this one.

Even with such a huge lead, the C's pushed their lead back to double figures (94-84) in the fourth only to see it wiped out when Horford made a pair of free throws to cap off a 14-4 run to tie the game at 98 with one minute to play.

Boston had a chance to regain the lead, only for Garnett to miss what would have been the go-ahead, game-winning lay-up. The C's got yet another chance when Devin Harris lost the ball out of bounds with 29.2 seconds to play after video review by the official overturned the initial call which gave the ball to the Hawks.

Rondo missed a floater in the lane, but was able to get his hands back on the ball and force a jump ball with Kyle Korver who is about five inches taller.

Atlanta got the jump ball with 3.7 seconds to play, and immediately called a time-out.

Josh Smith missed a potential winning lay-up as time expired which led to the first overtime. Boston's Paul Pierce had a chance to win it at the end of the first overtime, but his shot was well short of the rim.

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”