May 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) carries the ball on a fast break during the second half of game two in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Celtics won 87 - 80. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

Paul Pierce leads Boston Celtics over Atlanta Hawks

Former Kansas Jayhawks star Paul Pierce was key in the clutch and led the Boston Celtics to an 87-80 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. His 36 points were key in helping to tie up the series for Boston at 1-1 in the first round, and he also added 14 rebounds and four assists to help offset eight turnovers.

Kevin Garnett was another vet who came up big for Boston, as the big brought in 12 boards and dished five dimes with 15 total points. Avery Bradley has been a revelation this past month, and the shooting guard was 4-8 for 14 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in 42 minutes of astute defending.

For Atlanta, the consistently great Joe Johnson put up 22 with five assists and three steals. Josh Smith lit up the stat sheet with a 16-12-5 game.

Former Jayhawk Kirk Hinrich had ten less points (eight) than teammate Jeff Teauge (18), but the younger point guard took 18 shots to net that total. He had five rebounds and two assists, but his 6-18 game clearly hurt his team.

Both teams were about even in every other statistic, so it was shooting that separated the Celtics from the Hawks. Boston shot 42.6% from the floor, while Atlanta hit just 34.9% of their shots despite outscoring the Celtics 42-26 in the paint.

Paul Pierce always does Jayhawks fans proud in the NBA, and the future Hall of Famer had another big display to lift his team to a seven-point victory in a key playoff game. Nobody wants to go 2-0, especially when your the favorite; Pierce kept that from happening and helped Boston outscore- really, shutdown- Atlanta 24-16 in the crucial fourth quarter.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Avery Bradley Boston Celtics Jeff Teague Joe Johnson Josh Smith Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Kevin Garnett Kirk Hinrich NBA Playoffs Paul Pierce

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