Boston 88, Atlanta 86 - Celtics Outlast Hawks in Overtime Thriller

Coming off the epic win in Miami last night. The Celtics were almost expected to falter a bit tonight. Some early jumpers hit the front of the rim and all of Boston shook their heads ready to call it a night. However perseverance was the name of the game at the Garden tonight as the Celtics fought their way to overtime and took it from there; 88-86.

In the extra period, Boston got off to a good start, going up 88-84 before Kevin Garnett was whistled for an offensive foul, his sixth of the game sending him to the bench with 2:43 to go. KG was forced to watch from the sidelines and the Celtics to go on without his 22 points and 12 boards.

Next up, Greg Stiemsma fouled out with 40 seconds left, taking his six points and eight rebounds to the bench following some questionable calls.

Despite all that, the Celtics had the ball and a two point lead with 28 seconds to go. Then Paul Pierce was whistled for an offensive foul giving the Hawks the ball with 10 seconds to tie or win it.

Joe Johnson missed a three and the loose ball rebound went out of bounds off Atlanta with 1.3 seconds on the clock all but ending things.

This game looked nothing like the shootout that took place with the Heat. This was the Celtics type of game. A defensive struggle with plenty of chippiness to go around.

The Celtics were without Ray Allen again, as he sat out to rest his sore ankle. However when they subtracted one deep threat, they added another. Mickael Pietrus checked in late in first quarter for the first time since his gruesome fall in Philadelphia.

Pietrus welcomed himself back to the court by hitting a couple shots and showing zero fear in taking the ball to the hoop. He finished with eight points while playing 29 minutes of solid defense.

After one quarter, Rajon Rondo's stat line read; 4-7-3 and the triple-double watch was on. He wouldn't get it until a late fourth quarter layup hit the bottom of the net. It was Rondo's sixth triple-double of the season. When the overtime dust settled, Rondo had posted a 10-20-10

Perhaps the most astonishing stat of the night was that the Celtics out rebounded the Hawks 56-39.

Pierce finished with 14 points and Brandon Bass had an enormous double-double with 21-10. Jeff Teague scored 21 in the losing effort for Atlanta, and Josh Smith added 20-11.

An overtime game isn't exactly what the Celtics were hoping for after an emotional contest last night, but they will take the W. They improve their record to 34-24 and move into a tie with Atlanta in the standings. They remain in the four-seed, two games back of Indiana for the third slot. Next up is five games in six days including three in a row this weekend starting Friday night in Toronto.