BOSTON — The soaring Atlanta Hawks, again resting key players, cruised to their 10th straight victory, a 105-91 hammering of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer sat four starters in a victory over the lowly 76ers. On Wednesday, facing another weak opponent, big man Al Horford and key reserve Kyle Korver were inactive, but the Hawks still had no trouble posting their club-record 10th straight road victory.
The 10-game overall winning streak is the club’s longest since 1997-98 With a 31-8 record, the Hawks are leading the Eastern Conference this late in a season for the first time since 1993-94.
The in-flux Celtics, who continue making trades aimed at the future, lost for the 10th time in their last 13 games.
Horford had his first career triple-double against Philadelphia but clearly wasn’t needed Wednesday.
Forward DeMarre Carroll and guard Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 22 points apiece, combining to go 15 of 25 from the floor — and Teague added six assists. Forward Paul Millsap had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Guard Avery Bradley led four Celtics in double figures with 17 points. Forward Jared Sullinger had 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawks took the lead 32 seconds into the second quarter and never gave it up, establishing control with a 12-0 run later in the quarter. The lead got as high as 18.
It was 15 at the end of the third quarter and it took the Hawks 4:13 to score their first points in the fourth.
The Celtics scored just six points during that time, cutting the lead to nine, but Budenholzer got his starters back in to regain control and send the home fans fleeing the building while thinking ahead to the Patriots’ AFC title game on Sunday.
NOTES: After sitting out four starters in their 105-87 win at Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Hawks sat big man Al Horford and reserve swingman Kyle Korver on Wednesday. Horford had his first career triple-double in Philly and Korver was 12 of 17 from 3-point range in the previous three games. … The Celtics, who have made eight trades since the start of the season, were reportedly negotiating buyouts with F Tayshaun Prince and G Nate Robinson as they clear roster space to trade newly acquired G Austin Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers to play for his dad. … Boston also reportedly had interest in G Marcus Thornton. … Speaking from London, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he wants the Hawks, who are for sale, to remain in Atlanta. … “I don’t think it will be a real issue,” he told reporters, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “because I would be shocked if they (current owners) were to sell to a group whose intention it was to even seek to transfer the team out of Atlanta.” … Atlanta had allowed 93 points per game and held opponents to 42.3 percent shooting in its 23-2 run coming into the game. … Hawks G Shelvin Mack played for Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler.
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