BOSTON (CBS) – The chances of the Celtics coming away with a win Wednesday night at home to the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks seemed marginal at best, even before the opening tip.
Entering the game, Atlanta traveled to Boston riding a 13-game win streak against Eastern Conference opponents, a franchise record. Atlanta is far and away the best team in the East, and their unique brand of team basketball resembling the San Antonio Spurs has many experts picking them to be Finals-bound.READ MORE: Beverly Man Dies While Hiking On New Hampshire Trail
For just the eighth time in league history, the Hawks are sending four of their players to the All-Star game, tied for a league record.
Meanwhile, the young Celtics have spent the last month-plus trying to find a new identity without the likes of Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, both jettisoned in trades to Western Conference contenders.
At the start, the game unfolded exactly as many thought it would. Atlanta led 23-13 after the first, and entered the half up 49-34. The C’s were down by as many as 18 points in the contest, but never said uncle. Instead, they were headstrong, relentless and kept chipping away at the lead.
Boston outscored Atlanta 55-39 in the second half, and it was the heroics of guard Evan Turner in the waning seconds of the contest that put the C’s over the top, giving them a hard-fought 89-88 win in front of the Garden faithful. The C’s handed the Hawks just their 11th loss of the season, and at 20-31, they’re on pace to reach 32 wins — a seven-win improvement from last year’s start to the post-Big 3 era.
Listen to Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell’s call of Boston’s final possession, where Turner’s runner with .2 seconds remaining gave the Celtics their first lead of the night, and the win over Atlanta:READ MORE: Candlelight Vigil Scheduled In Memory Of 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
The win, improbable as it was, came on a night where the Celtics shot 32.3%, their worst shooting night of the year:
Celtics come from 18 down to win for the first time in two years...— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 12, 2015
...despite shooting 32.3%, their worst shooting night of the year.
Celtics: 1st win when shooting this poorly from the field (32.3 percent) since November 11, 1965 (defeated St. Louis Hawks)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2015
As Grande notes, it’s also the first time the Celtics have won a one-point game at home in a decade:
That was the Celtics first 1-point win at home in ten years.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 12, 2015
Ricky Davis blocked Milt Palacio at the buzzer, 3/16/05. @JalenRose had 35.
Celtics had lost 12-straight one-point home games in the last ten years, three of them to the Lakers.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 12, 2015
C's PG in the last win? Gary Payton.
The Celtics went 7-5 over their last 12 games before the All-Star Break, and 8-8 since the Jeff Green trade was finalized. Boston is currently just 1.5 games behind the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed, and this win over the Hawks should give them some confidence to finish the season strong.
Boston is off until Friday, February 20, when the team travels to Sacramento to take on the Kings.MORE NEWS: Cost Of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Increasing 4.1%
Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Celtics season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell begins 30 minutes prior to every game! Occasionally a scheduling conflict will arise, in which case the Celtics can be heard on our sister station 100.7 WZLX.