Boston Celtics push Hawks out of the playoffs 83-80
It was the annual Hawks vs. Celtics post-season throw down and unfortunately for the Hawks, it ended just as it usually does.
The close but no cigar axiom is wearing thin on the Hawks fan base but more on that some other time.
To win Game 6 and avoid a trip to the Highlight Factory, it required that Celtics pull off a 7-1 run down the stretch of the fourth period.
In the last three minutes of the game the Celtics had the poise of razor sharp veterans. During that same time span, the Hawks had a nervous energy that eventually did them in on the trio of chances that they had in the last 90 seconds to win and force a Game 7 at home.
Kevin Garnett put Boston in front with 31 seconds left with a precise bucket that took the wind out of Atlanta.
Al Holford of all people had the chance to tie the game with two seconds on the clock but he missed the first of two free throws.
Garnett double-doubled with 28 points and had 14 rebounds.
Josh Smith paced Atlanta with 18 points while Joe Johnson had 17.
The Celtics now look ahead to the Philadelphia 76ers. They would be wise not to look past them as a trip to the conference finals has not been promised.