Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double, scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out 20 assists as the Celtics held on for an 88-86 victory over the Hawks at TD Garden on Wednesday.
Both teams had a shot to win the game in regulation but Kevin Garnett came up short on his attempt and Jannero Pargo missed a wide-open jumper on the other end to send the game to overtime.
Boston scored the first four points in the extra frame and used their defense to hang on as the Hawks turned the ball over three times and missed all three of their field goals over the final two minutes.
Garnett finished with 22 points and 12 boards before fouling out with 2:43 left in overtime. Brandon Bass chipped in 21 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Pierce tallied 14 points to lead the Celtics to their fourth straight win.
Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 21 points and Josh Smith recorded a double- double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but the Hawks saw their three-game win streak come to an end.
Boston, Atlanta and the Orlando Magic all hold identical 34-24 records, with Boston holding the fourth spot as the Atlantic Division leader and Atlanta occupying the fifth position.
Trailing 68-67 to start the fourth, the Celtics opened the frame with the first six points to take a 73-68 lead, but Teague reeled off six straight and Zaza Pachulia added a tip in to give Atlanta a 76-73 edge just past the midway point of the fourth.
Boston countered, however, scoring seven straight to pull ahead 80-76 before Atlanta answered with four in a row to tie the game at 80-80 with three minutes left.
After Smith put Atlanta on top with 1-of-2 at the line, Garnett restored the lead for the Celtics with a jumper from the top of the key to make it 82-81 with 1:26 left.
Pachulia then went 1-of-2 from the line at the other end to tie the game at 82-82 before Bass and Joe Johnson exchanged jumpers.
Early on, Boston led 26-25 after one, but the Celtics went cold in the second, failing to register a field goal for the final 4:24 of the half. Atlanta took advantage, outscoring the home team 7-1 down the stretch to take a 48-40 edge into the locker room.
The Celtics scored the first six of the third quarter and trailed just 68-67 heading into the final frame.
Boston's Mickael Pietrus played for the first time in 10 contests after suffering a scary head injury on March 23 at Philadelphia. Pietrus finished with eight points and six rebounds...Boston guard Ray Allen missed the contest to rest his sore ankle...Rondo has now dished out at least 10 assists in 18 straight games. John Stockton had a 29-game streak back in 1992...Boston will head to Toronto on Friday, while Atlanta will visit the Magic on Friday.