ATLANTA — Their star point guard was off his game. Their coach was ailing, and their opponent couldn’t miss.
The Atlanta Hawks overcame it all in a 109-105 win over the struggling Boston Celtics on Tuesday at Philips Arena.
Atlanta guard Kyle Korver scored 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and backup point guard Dennis Schroder helped fuel a massive second-half comeback that took place with point guard Jeff Teague on the bench.
The Celtics led by as many as 23 and scored 66 points in the first half, but went into the tank in the second half and dropped their fifth straight game.
Boston got off to a sizzling start, shredding the Hawks for 42 points in the first quarter. Atlanta had held each of its last two opponents — the Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans — to 28 points in the first half, but couldn’t handle Boston point guard Rajon Rondo early on Tuesday.
Rondo handed out seven assists in the first quarter, and the Celtics made all four of their 3-point attempts and shot 77.3 percent in building a 12-point lead.
Boston’s lead ballooned to 23 early in the second quarter. The Hawks didn’t score in the first five minutes of the second quarter and trailed 66-50 at halftime, after Boston forward Jared Sullinger hit a 3-pointer as time expired.
Rondo notched his 10th assist with five minutes to go in the second quarter and had 14 at halftime. He finished with 19 assists, 12 rebounds and two points.
The Hawks clawed back into the game in third quarter, with Korver hitting two of his six 3-pointers.
A Kent Bazemore corner 3-pointer tied the game, 85-85, early in the fourth quarter, and the Hawks took their first lead of the game on a three-point play by Schroder with 10:45 to play.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who missed Monday’s practice with an illness, stuck with Schroder in the fourth quarter, allowing Teague to rest after scoring just nine points. It was Teague’s second straight game scoring in single digits. He’s averaging 18.0 points on the season.
Schroder finished with 15 points, including a jumper that put the Hawks up nine with 3:34 left.
The Celtics (4-11) closed within two at 107-105 and had the ball with 23.8 seconds left, but forward Jeff Green’s potential game-tying jumper rimmed out, and Bazemore got free for a breakaway layup to seal the game.
Green and Sullinger each finished with 25 points for Boston.
Forward Paul Millsap had 19 points, and center Al Horford added 15 for the Hawks (10-6), who improved to 8-2 at home.
NOTES: Celtics G Marcus Smart missed his 10th straight game with a left ankle sprain. The rookie did not travel to Atlanta with the team, but is expected back soon. … Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer missed Monday’s practice with an illness but returned to the bench Tuesday. … Atlanta held the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets to 28 points each in the first halves of their last two games. … Boston entered Tuesday’s game allowing 107.6 points per game, the most in the Eastern Conference. … Hawks G Kyle Korver entered Tuesday’s game having made 30 consecutive free throws. … The Hawks and Celtics split last season’s four meetings. … Referees were Monty McCutchen, Steve Anderson, Mark Ayotte.
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