Atlanta Hawks defeat Boston Celtics, 97-92

ATLANTA - NBA commissioner David Stern's itinerary called for him to make an appearance at an Atlanta Hawks playoff game last night.

(We trust this reservation was not made last fall.) That gave him the occasion to praise the Hawks and their fans for Job-like patience over the last nine playoff-free years - and to deliver a warning to NBA players, two of whom, including Paul Pierce, were whacked with $25,000 fines yesterday for making what the league said were "menacing ge...

ATLANTA - Joe Johnson was hemmed in by the Celtics' double teams throughout the third quarter last night and there was not a safe spot on the floor for the Atlanta swingman. The only basket he made in the third required terrific effort: three crossover dribbles through traffic, a head fake, and a spin off his pivot foot in the middle of the lane with Boston green surrounding him.

And then, just like that, Johnson got loose from the Celtics' ferocious double teams and th...