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 Celtics add to Hawks' road woes, win 104-92

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PostSubject: Celtics add to Hawks' road woes, win 104-92   Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:29 pm

BOSTON(AP) Paul Pierce is planning a birthday
party for his 1-year-old daughter. Kevin Garnett gets another four days
to recover from a strained right knee. Rajon Rondo is just going to
"chill at home.''Let the other Eastern Conference playoff
contenders tear each other apart fighting for playoff seeding. The
Boston Celtics are getting what they need most: rest."We're
playing really well right now, but we need a break,'' Celtics coach Doc
Rivers said Friday night after giving his team a rare, in-season
weekend off following a 104-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. "This is
absolutely needed.''Pierce scored 21 points and Rondo had 20 for
Boston, which has four days off before its next game and has just one,
two-game road trip before the end of the season. The Celtics also have
just one set of back-to-back games, on the last two days of the regular
season.Kendrick Perkins had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Glen
"Big Baby'' Davis had 19 points in place of Garnett, who missed his
fourth straight game and his 17th of 21. Tony Allen played his first
game since Feb. 8, but Brian Scalabrine and Leon Powe also remained on
the bench with injuries."Now we have a few days, next week we
have a few days,'' Perkins said. "But me, Rondo and Baby, we're in our
early 20s - we don't need that much rest.''Flip Murray scored 21
points, Mike Bibby had 20 and Josh Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds
for Atlanta, which has lost seven straight regular-season games to the
Celtics and nine in a row overall in Boston, including last year's
seven-game, first-round playoff series.Atlanta dropped to three
games ahead of fifth-place Philadelphia in the conference standings,
and the Hawks need home-court more than most: They've lost five
straight away games to fall to 14-24 on the road and 29-9 at home."We
don't play the same way we do at home,'' Smith said. "We get away from
the things we do at home and don't do it on the road.''Boston
hopes the Hawks can snap out of it when they return to Philips Arena to
play Orlando on Saturday. The Celtics are just a game ahead of the
Magic, who beat Cleveland 116-87 on Friday night, for the No. 2 spot in
the East.Fans cheered when the score of Cleveland's game against
Orlando was put on the board and the Magic were winning by 28 points.
But the Celtics have already conceded the No. 1 seed to the Cavaliers.Home
court was valuable for Boston last year, when it needed seven games to
beat the Hawks and seven more to eliminate Cleveland - both times, the
home team won every game in the series. But this year it might be more
important to get Garnett and the other injured players healthy than to
push for the top seed."I'll just take two days off; I think my
body needs it,'' Pierce said. "That's just growing as a player, getting
older, getting smarter. We still feel like it's a long season,
potentially two more months to play. So it's important to get our rest
right now.''Boston's first three victories over Atlanta this season were by a total of 10 points. This one wasn't that close.Atlanta
erased a 52-48 halftime lead with the first two baskets of the third
quarter, but Boston scored the next 10 points and never trailed. The
Hawks cut it to two points with 3:52 left in the third before the
Celtics called a timeout. Pierce drove to the basket for a layup, Rondo
did the same, and after a pair of free throws by Zaza Pachulia, Mikki
Moore made a three-point play.Bibby hit a 20-footer to make it 74-69, but Rondo made a 3-pointer and the Hawks never got closer than six points after that.Notes:
Hawks F Marvin Williams missed his 13th straight game with back pain.
... Powe missed his ninth straight game. ... Pierce picked up a
technical foul late in the second quarter for complaining to the
officials. Moore got one in the third, and double technicals were given
to Smith and Perkins. ... Allen scored two points in eight minutes.

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