Hawks crush Celtics to take NBA series lead
The Atlanta Hawks scored a crushing 110-83 victory over the Boston Celtics to seize the initiative in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
Atlanta's Mike Scott top scored after weighing in with 17 points off the bench as the Hawks hassled the Celtics into 19 turnovers in what rapidly became a rout.
The victory means Atlanta lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series heading into Game Six in Boston on Thursday.
It was a night to forget for Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas who was jeered at every turn by a fiercely partisan Hawks crowd.
Thomas, who finished with dismal numbers of seven points from 3-of-12 shooting, limped off the court in the fourth quarter after appearing to roll an ankle.
A rollercoaster series has seen Boston repeatedly claw back big deficits to overhaul Atlanta.
But their luck ran out on Tuesday as Atlanta cut loose in the second and third quarters to leave Boston scrambling to recover.
The Celtics had started brightly, compiling a healthy 29-19 lead at one point in the first half.
But a 28-10 run by the Hawks helped the home team into a 47-39 lead at half-time.
Boston attempted to get back into the contest after the break, but Kyle Korver, Scott, Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder all drained threes during a frenzied burst of scoring to put Atlanta 22 points clear.
The Celtics were unable to respond and now must pick themselves up in time for Game Six in Boston. The top scorers for Boston were Evan Turner with 15 points and Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger who posted 10 points apiece.
© 2016 AFP