ATLANTA — Trailing by nine points to the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks were in danger of losing to the Detroit Pistons and Celtics on back-to-back nights. Their lead over the New York Knicks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference was about to be trimmed to one game.
Then, Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague and guard Kyle Korver took over.
Korver hit three 3-pointers during a fourth-quarter rally, leading the Hawks to a come-from-behind 105-97 win over the Celtics at Philips Arena.
The win pushed Atlanta’s lead to two games over the idle Knicks with four games to play. But it wasn’t easy.
The Celtics led 89-80 with 5:43 to play, before Teague ignited a charge with a 3-pointer followed by a steal and dunk. Korver then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Hawks their first lead since early in the third quarter.
Teague finished with 19 points and eight assists. Korver had 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
The loss was Boston’s ninth in a row overall and 13th in a row on the road. And it was a complete collapse.
The Celtics (23-55) were in control after guard Avery Bradley hit a jumper that put Boston up 89-80 with six minutes left. Bradley finished with a game-high 24 points, but could not answer the Hawks’ late push.
Atlanta (35-43) plays the Nets in Brooklyn on Friday, before returning home against the Miami Heat in a preview of a potential first-round playoff matchup. The Hawks finish the regular season against the Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks.
The Knicks (33-45), who haven’t played since Sunday, have two games remaining against the Toronto Raptors in addition to a home game against the Chicago Bulls and a road game at Brooklyn.
After getting off to a sluggish start in a loss to the Pistons on Tuesday, Atlanta started off red-hot against the Celtics. The Hawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead and shot 77.8 percent from the field in the first quarter. They had 17 assists on 23 field goals in the first half and led 56-51 at halftime.
Atlanta cooled off in the second half. A Bradley jumper tied the score at 56-56 early in the third quarter, and point guard Rajon Rondo’s floater gave the Celtics their first lead at 67-66 with five minutes to go in the quarter. Rondo finished with 19 points and 12 assists for the Celtics.
Magic 115, Nets 111
Arron Afflalo recorded 25 points and E’Twaun Moore was 5-of-5 from 3-point range en route to 17 off the bench as Orlando held off visiting Brooklyn.
Tobias Harris contributed all of his 16 points in the second half while Jameer Nelson chipped in 14 points and seven assists. Kyle O’Quinn had 13 points and eight rebounds and Dewayne Dedmon added a career-best nine rebounds for Orlando.
Joe Johnson led the way with 31 points for Brooklyn, but had his 3-pointer that could have tied it blocked by O’Quinn with 11 seconds left. Mirza Teletovic recorded 17 points and nine rebounds, Mason Plumlee had 16 points and Marcus Thornton added 13 for the Nets, who fell 2 1/2 games behind Chicago for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Orioles 5, Yankees 4
Nick Markakis drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth and Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer as visiting Baltimore took the rubber match of a three-game series from New York.
Portland native Ryan Flaherty led off the ninth with a double off Shawn Kelley (0-1) and moved to third on Schoop’s single before Markakis reached down for a 1-0 slider and lined it to right-center. Brian Matusz (1-0) earned the win in relief and Tommy Hunter allowed a run in the ninth but induced a double play to end the game and wrap up his third save.
Carlos Beltran went 3-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored and Kelly Johnson added a solo blast for the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka made his second career start and struck out 10 while allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk in seven innings.
Royals 7, Rays 3
At Kansas City, Mo., Alex Gordon belted a three-run homer as Kansas City scored five times in the fifth inning to defeat visiting Tampa Bay.
Gordon matched his career best of four RBIs while Eric Hosmer added two singles and scored twice for the Royals. Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-0) allowed one run and four hits with four strikeouts over seven innings while retiring the last 12 batters he faced.
Desmond Jennings recorded a solo homer and an RBI double for the Rays, who have dropped eight of their last 10 against the Royals. Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi (1-1) yielded seven runs and 10 hits — six in the fifth inning — and struck out four over five frames.