Takedowns and menacing gestures. Double technicals and flagrant fouls. And the Boston Celtics are heading to Atlanta to try to deliver the knockout punch. Paul Pierce scored a playoff-high 22 points and Ray Allen hit three 3-pointers in the middle of the third quarter Wednesday night to turn back the Hawks' last charge, leading Boston to a hard-fought 110-85 victory over Atlanta
The win gives the Celtics a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Kevin Garnett scored 20 and Allen had 19 to put the Celtics one game away from advancing to the second round. Boston got a huge lift from its bench in the second quarter, when Sam Cassell scored nine points and Leon Powe had seven with five rebounds while holding Al Horford to a pair of baskets.