Basketball: Hawks stumble into All-Star break with loss while Warriors grind out win

Minnesota Timberwolves centre Nikola Pekovic dribbling through Golden State Warriors centre Andrew Bogut in the first half at Target Center. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/JESSE JOHNSON/USA TODAY SPORTS
Minnesota Timberwolves centre Nikola Pekovic dribbling through Golden State Warriors centre Andrew Bogut in the first half at Target Center. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/JESSE JOHNSON/USA TODAY SPORTS

BOSTON (Reuters) - Evan Turner capped a furious comeback by the Boston Celtics with a floater in the lane with 0.2sec remaining, giving the Celtics an 89-88 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday.

Boston trailed by 18 in the first half and 14 entering the final quarter before coming back to stun the Hawks. It was just Atlanta's third loss of the calendar year, but all three have come in the last 10 days following a 19-game winning streak that propelled them to the NBA's best record.

The Hawks are now at 43-11 heading in the All-Star weekend, a half game behind the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors (42-9) who beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 94-91 on Wednesday.

"It's been a good first half of the season," Hawks forward Paul Millsap said. "But it's definitely not the way we wanted to end this half, going into the break with a loss against a team that we know we should've won. Especially blowing a lead like that."

In Minneapolis, the Warriors also struggled against the Timberwolves, and had to rely on their bench players to grind out the win.

Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa led a dominant effort from the Warriors' reserves and Klay Thompson hit a big three-pointer down the stretch to close out a four-game road trip.

Iguodala scored just eight points on 4-for-4 shooting and Barbosa had 10 points, but they spearheaded an energised second unit that picked up the slack for their sluggish starters. Stephen Curry had 25 points on nine-for-23 shooting for Golden State.

"Amazing. Amazing record," Kerr said of the franchise-best start. "Really proud of the guys, and I've never seen a group of guys that needed the All-Star break more than this team. We're so out of whack right now. We're tired. We're not making our cuts. We're not getting good shots for each other. The ball has stopped moving and we need a rest, and fortunately we'll get one."