ATLANTA, Georgia — On the same night Atlanta honored one of its best defensive players in franchise history, the Hawks exploded for one of their best offensive efforts of the season.
Forward Paul Millsap led seven Hawks in double figures with 25 points, and point guard Jeff Teague added 16 points and nine assists in a 121-97 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
Former Hawks defensive stopper Dikembe Mutombo, an NBA Hall of Famer, had his number 55 jersey retired at halftime. The Celtics could have used the 7-footer’s shot-blocking prowess.
Atlanta (10-6) scored on the inside and outside, with an efficient attack that helped the Hawks overcome another big night from red-hot Boston guard Avery Bradley.
Bradley scored 25 points to lead the Celtics, and he is averaging 22.4 points in his last five games.
The Hawks took an 81-73 lead into the fourth quarter. Forward Mike Scott converted a three-point play off of nice pass from point guard Dennis Schroder to put the Hawks up 11 with nine minutes to play.
Guard Kyle Korver drained a couple 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Atlanta lead ballooned to 112-88 with three minutes left.
Korver, forward Thabo Sefolosha and Scott each finished with 15 points.
The Celtics (7-7) began the week with NBA’s top-ranked defense, but they didn’t look like it early against an energetic, hot-shooting Hawks team that pushed the pace from the opening tip.
The Hawks scored a season-high 33 points in the first quarter and shot a sizzling 57.9 percent from the field in the first half. They led by as many as 13, but the Celtics made a move every time the Hawks tried to pull away, mainly thanks to Bradley.
Bradley hit 8 of 12 shots in the first half, including three 3-pointers to keep the Celtics somewhat close. Atlanta led 57-48 at halftime, behind 15 first-half points from Millsap.
After an 8-2 start, the Hawks had dropped four of five games and were looking for answers in the backcourt, where both Teague and key reserve guard Kent Bazemore had missed time with injuries. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr., an offseason acquisition, saw his first action of the regular season Tuesday. Hardaway finished with three points in 12 minutes.
The Celtics, who, like the Hawks, have been up-and-down through the first month of the season, dropped their second straight game and third in their last four. Rookie guard R.J. Hunter, a local product who starred at Georgia State, scored 10 points.
Point guard Isaiah Thomas added 15 points, and forward David Lee came off the bench for 10 points and six rebounds for the Celtics.
NOTES: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he apologized to referee Ben Taylor for making contact with him while protesting a noncall Saturday in a loss to Cleveland. Budenholzer was fined $25,000, but not suspended by the NBA, a punishment that drew criticism from the referees’ union. … Boston guard Marcus Smart is sidelined for at least two weeks with a lower leg injury. Smart already missed three games earlier in the season with a sprained big toe. … Only the Milwaukee Bucks had a worse rebounding differential than the Hawks (-5.7) entering Tuesday’s games. … The Celtics won the first of four meetings of the season, beating the Hawks 106-93 on Nov. 13. … The Hawks retired the jersey of Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo during a ceremony at halftime.
Pacers 123, Wizards 106
WASHINGTON — Forward Paul George scored a season-high 40 points as the surging Indiana Pacers sank a franchise-record 19 3-pointers in their 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards Tuesday night.
Forward C.J. Miles established a career high with 32 points and combined with George to dominate from distance. Indiana shot 73.1 percent (19 of 26) from beyond the arc, with their starting forwards doing the damage.
Miles, who set a season high by halftime with 22 points, made 8 of 9 3-pointers, while George finished 7 of 8 and 14 of 19 overall for the Pacers (9-5). The duo combined to make their first 11 3-point attempts.
Indiana has won nine of its last 11 games, including three straight by a combined 64 points.
The loss ended Washington’s three-game winning streak.
Guard Gary Neal scored 23 points and guard Bradley Beal had 20 for the Wizards (6-5). Washington kept pace until Indiana’s 12-4 run late in the third quarter put the visitors up 93-81. The lead never dipped below nine points in the fourth quarter. Guard John Wall added 18 points.
George, who missed all but six games last season after suffering a gruesome leg injury playing with USA Basketball in 2014, started the decisive run with five straight points. Scorching from all angles, he set a career best with his 10th straight game with at least 20 points.
The Pacers and Wizards have undergone notable lineup and tactical changes since meeting in the 2014 Eastern Conference semifinals. Instead of classic big-man lineups, both teams are embracing the small ball era.
Neal made five of Washington’s 13 3-pointers, but the Wizards shot 4 of 16 in the second half.
After starting interior options David West and Roy Hibbert for several seasons, Indiana now begins with four perimeter players. The Pacers entered Tuesday third in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage at 38.8 percent.
George and Miles finished 10 of 10 combined from beyond the arc in the first half and the Pacers sank 12 of 15 while shooting 60 percent overall from the field
Yet the Wizards only trailed 33-31 after the opening period and 62-61 at halftime. Washington made nine 3-pointers, including three from Neal, who scored 13 points in the second quarter.
Over his last four games, Miles is averaging 23.0 points while shooting 60.6 percent (20 of 33) from beyond the arc.