Atlanta Hawks defeat Boston Celtics, 97-86

POSTGAME Obviously a big win for the Hawks, who hadn't won here in three seasons, and Joe Johnson acknowledged as much.

"It lets us know we can win in this building," he said. "We’ve came up empty numerous times coming back here. So coming in here early in the season and getting a win in here is huge."

It's almost cliche to talk about the Hawks maturity, but with the way they held the lead down the stretch it's kind of mandatory.

"They’ve been together," said Kev...

They had already mounted a few heads on the mantel.

New Orleans.

Portland.

Denver.

But the 97-86 win over the Celtics last night at the Garden was the kind of prize the Hawks had been eyeing for two years.

The Hawks had the Celtics on their minds in the preseason when Al Horford went on a local radio station and said Celtics captain Paul Pierce owed him $10,000 from 2008 when Pierce supposedly bet Horford that the Hawks wouldn’t win a game in their first-rou...

Celtics captain Paul Pierce expressed concern with the team’s slow starts. The Celtics also had a sluggish finish last night, falling to the Atlanta Hawks, 97-86.

The Celtics were chasing the Hawks for much of the game, but still had the lead late in the third quarter, just before Pierce (bruised left knee) limped to the locker room for treatment. Instead of regrouping for a late rally, the Celtics faltered in the final quarter and were outscored, 25-16.

“I just thou...