All throughout the trade deadline, Josh Smith’s name was attached to the Boston Celtics (34-27). He showed why Danny Ainge made him a primary target, putting on a terrific all-around performance.
Smith finished with 32 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. His effort wasn’t enough though, as Paul Pierce carried the Celtics to a 107-102 overtime victory.
Pierce had 27 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, but it was his timely shots in overtime that proved once again why they call him “The Truth.” After Smith hit a 3-pointer with 2:14 left in overtime to put the Hawks up two, Pierce responded with his own deep 3-pointer seconds later putting Boston back on top.
The Hawks (34-27) would then tie it up after an Al Horford free throw, but Jason Terry knocked down a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to break a 102 tie. That proved to be the deciding shot, as the Celtics would force a turnover on the next Hawks’ possession. A pair of Terry free throws then sealed the final score.
Early in the fourth quarter, it appeared that Boston was headed for a comfortable victory, as they held a 12-point lead. Similar to the last meeting though, when the Hawks overcame Boston’s 27-point lead, the Hawks clawed their way back to tie the game up late in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks would even have a chance to win in regulation, but Smith missed the potential game winning shot with 2.2 seconds left.
With tonight’s victory, Boston surpasses the Hawks and is the current sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston’s bench has played a significant role in the Celtics ascent up the playoff ladder, and tonight was no different. The Celtics’ bench scored 46 points compared to just eight points for the Hawks.
The Celtics are now 7-4 in overtime games this season. There will be little time for rest though, as Boston will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (46-16) Sunday afternoon.