ATLANTA — Al Horford capped his 35th double-double with a key tip-in with 7.9 seconds remaining and the Atlanta Hawks surged in the fourth quarter to beat the travel-weary Boston Celtics 88-83 on Friday night.
The Hawks’ lead was only three points when Horford tipped in a miss by Joe Johnson.
Jamal Crawford had 20 points and Johnson had 19 despite making only 4 of 20 shots from the field. Horford had 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The Celtics arrived in Atlanta at 4 a.m. on Friday following Thursday night’s 107-97 win at San Antonio. Boston’s players appeared to tire late in the game after taking a 60-48 lead in the third quarter.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 25 points. Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks pulled within six points at the end of the third quarter and then tied it at 69-all on three free throws by Johnson early in the final period.
Horford had back-to-back baskets to give Atlanta a 77-73 lead, and a 3-pointer by Johnson pushed the lead to 82-75.
Allen hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 84-81. Glen Davis missed two free throws with 36 seconds remaining. Garnett grabbed the rebound of the second miss but was called for a push-off foul.
Zaza Pachulia, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds, made both free throws for Atlanta to increase the advantage back to five points.
Boston’s Jermaine O’Neal played for the second straight night after recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He played on Thursday night for the first time since January. He had only one point and one rebound in 15 minutes.
Hawks coach Doc Rivers said he was forced to play O’Neal against the Hawks after backup center Nenad Krstic hurt his right knee on Thursday night. Rivers said he would have tried to rest O’Neal if not for Krstic’s injury.
O’Neal said he intended to play both games even before Krstic’s injury.
Rivers tried to protect O’Neal, limiting the center to 13 minutes through the first three periods.
NOTES: Krstic was with the team but did not play against the Hawks. He will have an MRI on the knee in Boston on Saturday. … Boston’s Pierce and O’Neal and Atlanta’s Pachulia drew technical fouls for two incidents in the first quarter. Pierce drew his technical following a brief altercation with Johnson. Pachulia and O’Neal had to be separated late in the period.
Bulls 101, Pistons 96
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Derrick Rose scored 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter and had a key assist in the final minute of the game, helping the Chicago Bulls hold off the Detroit Pistons 101-96 on Friday night.
The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls enjoyed a comfortable lead for much of the game but the lowly Pistons pulled within three a couple times late in the final period.
Rose made a perfect pass to set up Ronnie Brewer’s layup for a six-point lead with 34 seconds left and the MVP candidate made two free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Chicago’s Carlos Boozer had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Richard Hamilton scored 30, Tayshaun Prince had 17 points and Will Bynum added 12 for the Pistons.
The Bulls were without center Joakim Noah because of a sprained right ankle. His replacement, Kurt Thomas, grabbed an offensive rebound and made a baseline jumper to give Chicago a six-point lead with just under a minute left.
Chicago also got contributions from Luol Deng, who scored 15, and reserve Ronnie Brewer, who added nine points.
Detroit decided to rest Tracy McGrady’s tired legs and put Bynum in the lineup after giving Rodney Stuckey the option of starting or coming off the bench.
Rose made sure the Bulls wouldn’t overlook the Pistons, making 4 of 5 shots and collecting three assists and three steals in the first 12 minutes of the game.
He gave the Bulls a scare in the second half when he limped off the court, trying to keep weight off his left ankle, but he was back after a timeout and made an assist on the ensuing possession.
NOTES: After the Pistons retired his No. 10 jersey, Dennis Rodman said he has been informed he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. … Noah said his ankle is feeling better, but he didn’t know when he would be healthy enough to play.