Hawks stay alive, holding off Celtics 87-86

Hawks stay alive, holding off Celtics 87-86

By PAUL NEWBERRY
Posted May 08 2012 10:49PM

ATLANTA (AP) Al Horford scored 19 points in his first start since January, and the Atlanta Hawks held on for an 87-86 victory over the Boston Celtics in a thrilling Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs Tuesday night.

The Celtics lead the series 3-2 heading back to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday. If the Hawks can steal one on the road, the deciding game would be Saturday in Atlanta.

Boston had a chance to clinch the series when Rajon Rondo stole Josh Smith’s inbounds pass with 10 seconds remaining and raced down the court, looking for the winner. But he got hemmed in along the sideline and Smith knocked away a desperation pass, the ball rolling away as time ran out.

A relieved Smith collapsed on the scorer’s table.

Celtics at Hawks – May 8, 2012 – Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on NBA.com.