Allen and Celtics Hold Off Hawks 79-76

The Celtics led 73-58 at the end of the run. Joe Johnson, who had 25 points, had three late 3-pointers as the Hawks rallied. Johnson’s 3 with 11.8 seconds remaining cut the lead to 77-76.

Allen, who had 19 points, made two free throws with 10.9 seconds remaining.

Jeff Teague launched an air ball on Atlanta’s final possession.

Kevin Garnett had 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 13 assists and six steals for Boston, which took charge with a 17-2 run, including 13 unanswered points, after a 56-56 tie in the final period.

Zaza Pachulia had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Atlanta, which now leads Boston by 1½ games in the race for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Paul Pierce had 13 points for Boston.

The Celtics managed only 31 points in the first half and shot only 35 percent from the field through three quarters to trail the Hawks 51-50. The Celtics broke through with 29 points in the final period.

Each team was short-handed. The Celtics announced before the game that forward-center Jermaine O’Neal will have surgery on his left wrist and miss the remainder of the season, adding more urgency to the team’s search for inside help.

Hawks guard Jannero Pargo had an appendectomy Sunday night in Cleveland and is expected to miss two to four weeks.

The Hawks also were without forwards Marvin Williams (hip) and Vladimir Radmanovich (back) and guard Willie Green (hamstring).

Each team struggled with poor shooting in the first half. The Hawks matched with season low with 15 first-quarter points and set a low for points in a first half but led the Celtics 33-31.

Fouls became a growing problem for Boston in the third period. Pierce and Brandon Bass drew their fourth fouls with a span of 2 minutes midway through the period.

Bass drew a flagrant one technical foul for knocking Pachulia to the floor with 7 minutes remaining in the third. Less than a minute later, Pachulia again was knocked to the floor again by an elbow thrown by Greg Stiemsma under the basket. No foul was called, but Pachulia was bleeding badly from a cut on the top of his head, and he had to be taken to the locker room.

Stiemsma remained in after he was called for his fourth foul with 3 minutes remaining in the period.

Pachulia, who needed stitches, returned for the start of the fourth period.

Notes: Hawks C Jason Collins, who missed 21 games with a sprained left elbow before returning to play three minutes against Cleveland, had a more prominent role. … There was a moment of silence before the game for former longtime Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Furman Bisher, who was 93 when he died Sunday of a massive heart attack.

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Rondo’s Triple-Double Leads Celtics Past Bucks

Rondo had six rebounds and five assists in the third quarter, when the Celtics went on a 20-4 run to turn a five-point deficit into a double-digit lead. The Bucks cut it to two points in the final minute, but Kevin Garnett made four free throws in the last 15 seconds to clinch it.

Garnett scored 25 points with 10 rebounds, and Chris Wilcox came off the bench to grab 13 rebounds in 26 minutes for Boston, which returned to .500 with its second straight win.

Ersan Ilyasova had 25 points with 10 rebounds and Drew Gooden scored 23 for the Bucks.

Brandon Jennings had just six points to go with his eight assists, but he pulled up for a fast-break 3-pointer that made it 98-93 with 79 seconds to play.

Ilyasova hit a putback that cut it to 98-96 before Garnett sank a pair of free throws with 14.4 seconds left. The Celtics gave Jennings a layup but he missed it, and he also missed a 3-point attempt before Garnett grabbed the rebound and went back to the foul line for two more free throws.

Brandon Bass, making his second consecutive start because of Jermaine O’Neal’s wrist injury, scored 16 points with seven rebounds for Boston. Milwaukee led 60-55 with 8:34 left in the third quarter when the Celtics scored the next 12 points and 20 out of 24 to open an 11-point lead.

Both teams were playing for the second consecutive night following the All-Star break.

The Bucks were coming off a 119-118 victory over the Washington Wizards earned when Ilyasova tipped in Jennings’ miss with 2.2 seconds left. Boston, which took a five-game losing streak into the break, beat Cleveland on Tuesday to hold onto eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

For the second straight night, the Celtics faced their closest pursuer for the East’s final playoff berth.

Ilyasova had 10 points in the first quarter and Rondo had eight, when the teams finished tied 25-all. The Bucks took the lead with Larry Sanders’ tip-in on the first possession of the second quarter and led for the rest of the half, but Boston cut a nine-point deficit to four just before the break when Rondo drove for a layup and then Allen stole the ensuing inbounds pass to set up Keyon Dooling’s 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left.

Notes: Garnett and Sanders exchanged words, drawing a double technical foul with 6:23 left in the second quarter. … Drew Gooden had 16 points and six assists and Jennings had seven assists at the half. … O’Neal missed his third straight game with a sprained left wrist. … Mike Dunleavy picked up a technical foul complaining after he was beaten for a rebound by Rondo down the stretch. … It was Rondo’s 16th career triple-double.

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Nowitzki’s 26 Help Lead Mavs Over Celtics, 89-73

The defending champion Mavericks reached the midpoint of their regular season schedule after never trailing against Boston.

Nowitzki, who also had a season-high 16 rebounds, scored all of Dallas’ points in a 10-2 run midway through the second quarter that pushed the Mavericks ahead by 14. They led by double digits the rest of the way.

Already without suspended Rajon Rondo, absent Kevin Garnett and injured Brandon Bass, the Celtics lost starters Jermaine O’Neal (sprained left wrist) and Chris Wilcox (right adductor strain) in the third quarter.

Boston has lost four in a row, and six of seven.

Nowitzki moved to No. 20 on the NBA scoring list with seven points in the first quarter. That pushed him one past Hall of Famer Robert Parish (23,334), who played 14 of his 21 NBA seasons for the Celtics.

After finishing with his 26 points in 31 minutes, Nowitzki pushed his career total to 23,354 points. All of those have come the past 14 seasons, all with Dallas. Nowitzki is set to play in his 11th consecutive All-Star game this weekend.

At No. 19 on the scoring list is Garnett (23,719), who missed his second consecutive game for personal reasons.

Jason Terry added 16 points with four 3-pointers for Dallas, and Shawn Marion had 11 points.

Jason Kidd, who began the game tied with Michael Jordan for second on the NBA career list for steals, had three against the Celtics to push his career total to 2,517.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points. Ray Allen added 15 and Avery Bradley 12.

Rondo was suspended two games without pay by the NBA after throwing a ball at an official during Sunday’s loss at Detroit. He received two technical fouls and ejected from a game for the first time in his professional career.

Bass, a former Mavericks player who is one of Boston’s top reserves, was inactive for the fifth consecutive game because of a sore left knee.

Both teams were playing the second night of back-to-back games.

The Mavs were coming off a 104-97 loss at New York that ended their six-game winning streak even while Nowitzki scored a season-best 34 points.

Dallas was already up 44-34 at halftime against the Celtics when Wilcox picked up his fourth foul on Boston’s first offensive possession of the second half. It wasn’t clear when or how he got hurt, but he was out before the end of the third quarter.

Kidd then hit a 3-pointer before Nowitzki’s step-back 13-footer made it 49-34.

The Mavs built as much as a 24-point lead, though Boston cut that to 15 before Marion’s left-handed tip-in of a Lamar Odom miss at the end of the third quarter.

NOTES: Dallas swept the season series against the Celtics for the second season in a row. … Both teams play their final games before the All-Star break on Wednesday. The Mavericks are home against the Lakers. Boston plays at Oklahoma City.

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