Smith Soars Over Celtics

Hawks trim first round series deficit to 2-1
By Chip Bayers,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2008 12:28 AM CDT
Smith Soars Over Celtics
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) looks for a shot against Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, center, with Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, left, during the third quarter in Game 3 of the NBA first-round playoff basketball series, Saturday, April 26, 2008 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The Hawks won 102-93....   (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

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. (More Boston Celtics stories.)

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