Celtics find their three-point stroke in Game 4

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Celtics find their three-point stroke in Game 4

BOSTON -- 11.

It is the number of three-point shots the Boston Celtics attempted -- and missed -- in their Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. It is also the same number of three-point shots they made in their critical Game 4 victory to take a 3-1 lead in the first round series.

On Sunday night the Celtics went 11-for-26 from long range in their 101-79 win. Paul Pierce shot 4-for-6 in less 17 minutes while Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Keyon Dooling each added a pair. Avery Bradley also made a trey.

The offensive performance was a complete turnaround from just a week ago when the Celtics were outscored 21-0 from beyond the arc. In Game 2, they shot 3-for-14 (21.4) and continued to struggle in Game 3 (4-for-20, 20.0).

When you have Rajon Rondo as your point guard, youre going to get some open looks, said Dooling, who is shooting 4-for-8 in the series. Tonight we were able to knock some down. Obviously its been a problem in the series the first couple games, not being able to shoot the ball from the three-point line. But weve got Ray Allen back now. That always helps.

The Hawks took notice to the Celtics three-point attack. As they look ahead to a Game 5, they will focus on limiting the Cs long-range game as they fight to avoid elimination in Atlanta.

I tell you what, they were struggling but they hit some shots, said Al Horford. Everybody was hitting shots, it seemed like. Thats something that we need to get better at because we cant beat them if theyre shooting the ball from three that well.

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup