Paul Pierce scored 24 points in 18 minutes and the Boston Celtics opened a 37-point third-quarter lead before coasting to a 101-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night. The Celtics now have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They can finish off the Hawks in Atlanta tomorrow. Game 6 would be in Boston on Thursday, if necessary.
The Celtics had Ray Allen back for the second straight game last night after he missed almost a month with bone spurs in his right ankle. Guard Avery Bradley was in the starting lineup one game after dislocating his shoulder.