Both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 16 points for Boston but Al Horford, playing for the second time in months, was the difference in this game - scoring 19 points and 11 rebounds as he led the Hawks to an 87-86 win in Atlanta, forcing a Game 6 in Boston.
Marvin Williams was another key piece to the Hawks' victory, scoring 15 points and going 3-for-6 from three-point range.
The Hawks came out of a halftime tie by out hustling the Celtics and pulling out to a 12 point lead. However, Boston battled back and closed the quarter on a 10-0 run - highlighted by 6 points and 1 assist from Rajon Rondo - to cut the deficit to 2. Rondo finished the game with 13 points, 12 assists and five steals.
Boston was able to retake the lead in the fourth but so was Atlanta. It was a back and forth see-saw and it became obvious that one run could mean the game. Josh Smith saw the opportunity for his team to stave off elimination and took it. After struggling all game, Smith scored 7 points and dished out 2 assists in the fourth quarter (13 points, 16 rebounds total) to help his team build a seven point advantage over Boston with just over four-minutes remaining in the game.
Boston counter-punched with seven unanswered points in just over a minute to tie the game on a Ray Allen three-pointer. Still, Al Horford had an answer to that too for Atlanta, scoring 4 quick points to give the Hawks the two possession advantage with a minute and a half left in the game.
A Pierce three made it a one point game with 50.6 seconds left and after Jeff Teague missed a three on the other end, Pierce missed a jumper that could've given Boston the lead.
Still, the Celtics had one more golden opportunity to clinch the series at the end as Rondo stole the Hawks inbounds pass with just 9.9 seconds left in the game but - guarded by Horford - couldn't control it on the other end as time expired to give the Hawks the win.
Ryan Hollins played a playoff-high 19:02 minutes off of the bench, scoring five points.
The first half was just as back and forth as the second. The Celtics started the game by outscoring the Hawks 11-3. The Hawks fought back to come within two before a Kevin Garnett buzzer-beating jumper gave Boston a six point lead at the end of one. The Celtics doubled that lead in the second quarter, but again the Hawks fought back. They took a 3 point led with 10.0 seconds left in the half before a Rondo buzzer beating three had the game tied at 40 all at halftime. Mike Saver 5/08/2012 10:44:00 PM Tweet