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With Rajon Rondo missing this game due to suspension, the Boston Celtics needed someone to step up.

Paul Pierce made it clear early on that he was willing to put this team on his back. Pierce made that known as soon as the game started, scoring six seconds in off the opening tip on his way to scoring the Celtics' first nine points of the game and a total of 36 points, 14 rebounds and four assists as the Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks 87-80 to tie the series at 1-1.

The Hawks - led by Joe Johnson's 22 points and Jeff Teague's 18 - built a lead as high as six in the first half and then built that up to 11 after half time. The Celtics cut it to five at the end of the third and, helped by 13 fourth quarter points from Pierce down the stretch, took a seven point lead. Atlanta pulled within three with 1:35 to go but the Celtics held the lead to take Game 2 and home court advantage back to Boston with them.

The Celtics ended up holding the Hawks to 34.9% shooting and out rebounded Atlanta 45-40.

Josh Smith had a double double with 16 points and 12 rebounds but sprained his knee in the fourth and had to leave the game.

The Celtics got 14 points from their bench - led by Keyon Dooling who was 2-of-3 from beyond the arch. Kevin Garnett had a double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley had 13 points and three blocked shots. Pierce took a game high 26 shots and turned the ball over eight times.

Are the Atlanta Hawks in trouble? Sound off in the comments or on our Google+ Page.

Mike Saver 5/01/2012 10:15:00 PM Edit
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