Doc Rivers squelched the Boston Celtics’ hopes of winning their
ATLANTA (AP) _ Doc Rivers squelched the Boston Celtics’ hopes of winning their 2,00th franchise victory by scoring 12 fourth-period points in Atlanta’s 115-105 NBA victory Friday night.
″I started penetrating and made some jumpers,″ said Rivers, who ended the game with 21 points. ″I loved it.″
Dominique Wilkins, who led all scorers with 36 points, gave Atlanta a 60-59 lead, its first, on a jumper. With 5:52 remaining in the third period, Wilkins’ lay-up gave the Hawks the lead for good at 72-71.
″We needed a win, and it was great to get this one,″ Wilkins said. ″We played a little tentatively at the start, but in the second quarter we came out very emotional and ran the ball.″
Boston pulled within 107-101 with 3:12 left in the game on a three-point play by Robert Parish. But Rivers hit three field goals to keep the Celtics at bay.
Larry Bird paced Boston with 34 points, 15 coming in the first period. The Celtics continued to toy with the Hawks early in the second quarter, building a 43-26 lead on two free throws by Bird. But Atlanta pulled to 59-56 by halftime.
Boston’s Kevin McHale scored 22 points and Danny Ainge had 20.
Players from both teams said the game was rough.
″They have a lot of big guys and great shot-blockers, and if you take it to them, you are going to draw some fouls,″ said John Battle. ″We were able to do that, and it changed the game.″
Dennis Johnson left the game early in the first quarter with a sprained left achilles tendon suffered while fighting for the ball under the basket.
″The combination of his injury and the foul trouble took us out of our game,″ said Celtics Coach K.C. Jones.