Led by high-flying Josh Smith, the Atlanta Hawks finally showed they can beat the Boston Celtics. Good timing. Smith scored 27 points—and give him a perfect 10 in his own personal dunking contest—to lead the Hawks to a 102-93 victory Saturday night that breathed life into their long-shot playoff hopes, cutting Boston's lead in the opening-round series to 2-1.
Atlanta earned its first playoff win since May 16, 1999, a Game 5 clincher over the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks were swept by New York in the next round, then spent nine long years trying to get back to the postseason. After getting blown out twice in Boston, Smith and the Hawks seemed to take out all their frustrations on a 66-win Celtics team that finished 29 games ahead of eighth-seeded Atlanta during the regular season.