BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 24 points in three quarters and the Boston Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 129-108 on Friday night for their eighth straight victory.
Irving also had five assists, five rebounds and four steals. He scored 12 points in the first quarter and helped Boston race to a 23-5 lead. The Celtics topped 100 points with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Jayson Tatum had 22 points for Boston, Marcus Morris added 20, Gordon Hayward had 19 points and five assists, Daniel Theis scored 18 points and rookie Robert Williams III blocked five shots.
Kevin Huerter led Atlanta with 19 points, and John Collins had 11 points and 14 rebounds. The Hawks, losers of six of seven, had nine of their 24 turnovers in the first quarter.
Atlanta regrouped in the second quarter and pulled to 49-45, but Boston pushed the lead back up to 11 at halftime and continued pulling away in the second half with an opening 13-2 run.
Tatum’s three-point play with 2:04 left in the third pushed the Celtics over 100 points at 101-79. A technical on Bazemore after the call led to another free throw, followed by another Ton Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce 5 seconds later. Boston led 108-82 after three and let its reserves take over in the fourth quarter.
Hawks: Outscored Boston 37-25 in the second quarter to pull to 67-56 at halftime. … Huerter tied his career high for points, which he set Wednesday night in a loss at Dallas.
Celtics: The Celtics capitalized on nine turnovers by Atlanta in the first quarter and led 42-19 after one period. Boston outrebounded Atlanta 13-6 in the first and made 16 of 22 shots, going 6 for 8 from 3-point range. … Boston’s 42 points in the quarter was a little short of the season-high 45, also against Atlanta on Nov. 23. … Hayward and Jaylen Brown returned after missing Wednesday’s game with illnesses. … Al Horford missed his fourth straight game with an injured left knee.
Hawks: At Brooklyn on Sunday.
Celtics: At Detroit on Saturday night.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)