Celtics Top Hawks, Lead Series 3-2
By Doug Sweeney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2008 12:15 AM CDT
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, left, drives to the basket past Atlanta Hawks guard Josh Childress, right, during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff basketball series.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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(Newser) – 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.