Korver revival key to Hawks' easy victory

ATLANTA • Kyle Korver busted out of a shooting slump and buried the Boston Celtics in Game 2 with a barrage of first-half three-pointers, as the Atlanta Hawks won 89-72 on Tuesday at Philips Arena.

He hit five three-pointers, four coming in the first seven minutes of the game, to put the Celtics in another big early hole. He entered the game having made only three of his last 19 three-point attempts, including a 0-for-7 performance in Game 1.

Atlanta's Al Horford scored 17 points and blocked five shots, and Jeff Teague scored 13 points and had six assists.

The series moves to Boston tomorrow, with the Hawks leading 2-0.

The Celtics were without their best two-way player in Avery Bradley, who injured his hamstring in Game 1 and is expected to miss the rest of the series.

Boston point guard Isaiah Thomas finished with 16, half of those points coming in the fourth quarter after the game was out of reach. Amir Johnson added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics.

The Celtics shot 13.6 per cent from the floor in the first quarter and finished with seven points, the lowest-scoring quarter in the franchise's play-off history.

Atlanta led but cooled off in an ugly second quarter, allowing Boston to chip away at the lead.

The Celtics got within 10 at 36-26, on a Johnson bucket. But Korver answered with a three-pointer, and Boston went scoreless in the final five minutes of the half.

The Hawks took a 43-28 lead into half-time.

Other than Atlanta's sizzling start, the game was sloppy. Each team turned it over 10 times in the second quarter. The Hawks went ice-cold from the floor, connecting on 13 of 43 field goals in the second and third quarters.

The Celtics' Evan Turner was disgusted by the way he and his team-mates had surrendered the early initiative so easily. "In a play-off game, that should never happen," the guard said. "We have to start off with more energy."

However, Korver said he expected Boston to mount a response at home. "Game Three is going to be the toughest game of the series so far for sure," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Korver revival key to Hawks' easy victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe