BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving just missed his second straight triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, Jaylen Brown scored 23 points with a key 3-pointer and the Boston Celtics held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-120 Saturday after blowing a 25-point second-half lead.
Marcus Morris had 19 points and Jayson Tatum 18 for Boston, which has won six of eight.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 26 points, John Collins scored 20 with 11 rebounds, Taurean Price had 17 points and Vince Carter scored 16.
Irving had his second career triple-double in a win over Sacramento on Thursday.
It could have been a costly victory for the Celtics after forward Gordon Hayward suffered a strained neck early in the game and didn’t return.
After Boston squandered the 25-point lead, Brown nailed his 3 from the right corner, sparking a 9-0 spurt that gave the Celtics a 121-112 edge with 3½ minutes left.
The Celtics held their big lead late in the third but got just one basket in 7½ minutes — on a three-point play by Tatum — when the Hawks outscored them 28-6 to cut it to 109-106 on Young’s 3-pointer with 7:25 to play.
Atlanta tied it at 112 on Kent Bazemore’s two free throws.
Boston led by 12 at halftime and went on a 15-3 run midway into the third to push its lead to 103-78 on Irving’s step-back 3-pointer from the left wing.
But Atlanta had a 14-2 spree late in the quarter, slicing it to 105-92.
The Celtics started hot from the floor and were shooting 66.7 percent late in the second quarter when they opened a 16-point lead (66-50). They carried that into a 74-62 edge at intermission, matching their season high for points in any half.
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Hawks: Entered the day averaging a league-best 123.4 points per game since the All-Star break. … Early in the second quarter, the 42-year-old Carter was the team’s best offensive weapon, scoring eight points on 3-of-4 shooting while making both of his 3-point attempts.
Celtics: Hayward banged his head into the shoulder of Atlanta’s John Collins, who was setting a screen, and looked dazed before he went to the locker room. … Al Horford also went to the locker room early in the third, returned to ride an exercise bike and got treatment on the sideline before returning midway through the fourth. … A few Celtics players became sick when they returned from their West Coast trip earlier this week. Reserve center Daniel Theis and backup point guard Terry Rozier missed Thursday’s win over the Sacramento because of illness, but they played Saturday.
ROOKIE VS. UNCLE DREW
There was an interesting matchup between Celtics star Irving and Young, Atlanta’s promising rookie.
They went at each other from the start, pleasing the crowd with Irving scoring 12 points mostly on drives and jumpers in the opening quarter and Young driving hard at the veteran guard along with a deep 3 for nine points in the period.
FAST START AGAIN
Boston’s season high for any quarter is 45 points against the Hawks in Atlanta on Nov. 23. The Celtics had 43 in the first Saturday.
Hawks: At Orlando on Sunday night.
Celtics: Host Denver on Monday night.
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