ATLANTA (AP) — Kent Bazemore sparked a stunning turnaround with three straight 3-pointers in the second quarter, and the Atlanta Hawks reclaimed the upper hand in their playoff series against the Boston Celtics with a 110-83 rout Tuesday night.
The Hawks are up 3-2 in the series and positioned to close it out Thursday in Boston. If Game 7 is needed, it would be Saturday in Atlanta.
This one started out horribly for Atlanta, which couldn’t make a shot and trailed 29-19 midway through the second quarter. Then, suddenly, the Hawks looked like an entirely different team.
Led by Bazemore, the former star at Old Dominion University, Atlanta ripped off a 28-8 run to take control before halftime. The Hawks totally blew it open with a 42-point third quarter, heading to the final period up 89-62.
Chesapeake’s Mike Scott (Deep Creek High School) led the Hawks with 17 points, while Bazemore and Jeff Teague added 16 apiece. Evan Turner topped Boston with 15 points.
The Hawks made only six of their first 34 shots, the sellout crowd’s groans and moans growing louder with each miss. But Boston wasn’t exactly lighting it up, either, missing a chance to build a bigger cushion.
Then, coming out of a timeout in which mascot Harry the Hawk did a tribute to Prince and the arena was aglow in purple, the Hawks found their shooting touch.
Boy, did they ever go crazy.
Atlanta ripped off 11 straight baskets, five of them from beyond the arc. Bazemore made three in a row, while Teague and Scott also connected from long range. Just like that, the double-digit deficit turned into a 10-point lead.
Even though the run finally ended with Teague missing a shot at the halftime buzzer, the Hawks went to the locker room up 47-39. They didn’t slow down a bit after the break, knocking down 16 of 26 shots (62 percent) in the third to make it a rout.
Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 35 points in two victories at Boston that evened the series, managed only seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. He hobbled off to the locker room in the closing minutes with what was described as a mild left ankle sprain.
It wasn’t thought to be anything serious, but there was no need to come back in this one.
The Hawks got a chance to rest their starters, too. Little-used players such as Kris Humphries, Kirk Hinrich and Lamar Patterson closed out the game for the home team.
Humphries, playing in the series for the first time, even knocked down a couple of 3s.
BOOS FOR ISAIAH
Thomas was booed by the Atlanta crowd every time he touched the ball, the fans still mindful of an incident in Game 3 in which the guard took a swing at Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder.
The Boston star was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul but avoided a suspension when the league office reviewed the incident.
Former Hawks owner Ted Turner was among those sitting in the front row for Game 5.
Atlanta Falcons stars Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman were also in the house, along with several of their NFL teammates.
Celtics: G Avery Bradley (hamstring) missed his fourth straight game and remains unlikely to return in the series. … Jonas Jerebko, coming off two strong games in Boston, was held to six points and eight rebounds. … Boston shot 37.7 percent (29 of 77) from the field, including 7 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Hawks: All 13 players attempted at least one 3-pointer. … Paul Millsap was held to 10 points coming off his 45-point effort in Game 4. … Al Horford missed his first eight shots and finished with just six points on 2-of-11 shooting.