Celtics-Hawks review: Terry lifts C's

Celtics-Hawks review: Terry lifts C's
March 9, 2013, 12:00 am
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BOSTON — The NBA season is often referred to as a marathon.

It certainly has been that way for the Boston Celtics who managed to once again survive an overtime battle in defeating Atlanta, 107-102.

Several players stepped up for the Celtics, but it was Jason Terry's 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in overtime that proved to be the game-winner.

It was Boston's 11th overtime game this season, with them putting together an impressive 7-4 record in such games.

"I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "The good part is that we're winning them; a lot of those overtimes you feel like we shouldn't have gone into overtime."

Friday's win certainly would qualify, a game that the C's led for most of the night.

In the fourth quarter, Boston led by as many as 12 points on two separate occasions, and were holding a nine-point advantage with 4:28 to play.

But the Hawks, like too many teams this season, pushed back in the closing minutes and pushed the C's into an extra period.

It was yet another game that in so many ways, typified the kind of season this has been for the Celtics.

"Just the resiliency, and never getting down when we lose leads or when teams come back," said Paul Pierce. "You know we just continue to fight, and that's now it's going to be in the stretch we're in of the season. Every game is crucial as you can see between the fourth and eighth spot is the difference of one or two games, so all these games are big and we understand the sense of urgency right now."

Here are some other keys outlined prior to the game, and how they eventually played out as the C's extended their winning streak to five straight and take a 2-1 series lead over the Hawks.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  The Celtics have had problems all season limiting opponents scoring inside the paint. Although they have won four in a row, opponents have outscored them 190-136 during that span, or 13.5 points per game.

WHAT WE SAW: This was another game in which the Celtics found themselves on the short end in terms of points in the paint, 48-32. But because the C's tend to limit opponent's 3-point shooting and overall perimeter shooting, points in the paint continues to be the one negative stat for the Celtics that they're able to overcome consistently.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs Josh Smith: A good game for Bass would be a rough shooting/poor rebounding night for Smith. In his last five games against Boston, Smith has tallied a double-double in each while averaging 15.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass was able to chip in 8 points on 4-for-6-shooting, which was more points than he had in each of the C's two previous games. Although Smith got his points - 32 to be exact - he did so by taking 27 shots which is the kind of points-to-shots-taken ratio the C's wanted.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Kyle Korver single-handedly brought the Hawks back with the 3-ball in Atlanta's come-from-behind, double-overtime win on Jan. 25. In that game, he had 27 points which included 8-for-12 shooting on 3s. He needs a pair of 3s tonight to tie Mookie Blaylock for the franchise record for made 3s (1,283).

WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics made limiting him a priority, but few would have envisioned the C's shutting him down - literally. Korver, an 11.4 points per game scorer, missed all three of his shot attempts while being held scoreless.

STAT TO TRACK:  Atlanta has been one of the best teams at scoring in transition, with a number of those points coming off opponents turnovers. This season, the Hawks are averaging 17.3 fast-break points which ranks third in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Boston's first five turnovers resulted in zilch - literally - for the Hawks. But that soon changed as C's miscues eventually turned into fast-break points going the other way. For the game, Atlanta had 9 fast-break points while the C's had 11.