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Nate Robinson had 16 points and 10 assists filling in for Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics blew out Atlanta right from the start, racing to a 26-point lead in the first quarter on the way to a 99-76 rout of the Hawks on Monday night.
This one was over before many of the fans even settled into their seats. Paul Pierce hit a jumper, Kevin Garnett made another and the Celtics were off and running.
Atlanta missed five of its first six shots, and Boston had a double-digit lead before the game was 4 minutes old. Shaquille O'Neal's dunk made it 13-3, prompting the first of three timeouts coach Larry Drew called in the opening quarter in a desperate attempts to slow the Celtics.
Nothing worked. Boston made 18 of 25 shots, the Hawks just 4 of 17 and it was 39-13 at the end of the first.
Bouncing back from a tough loss at Toronto the day before, the Celtics looked like the fresher team even while playing the second of back-to-back games on the road. They snapped a two-game losing streak.
Robinson started for the second straight game in place of Rondo, who didn't dress because of a strained left hamstring. The replacement did a good impression, sparking the Celtics with eight points and five assists in the opening period.
Garnett scored 17 points, while Pierce and O'Neal chipped in with 13 apiece.
The Hawks have lost six of eight since a 6-0 start, and a disturbing trend is emerging for a team that finished third in the Eastern Conference last season and decided to stand pat, other than a change of coaches. Atlanta has yet to beat a team with a winning record, and this one was never close.
Boston led 64-42 at halftime and 85-56 after the third, leaving the fourth to the backups on both teams. The Boston starters got to enjoy themselves, while there were nothing but sullen looks on the opposite bench as the Hawks watched the clock wind down.
Mike Bibby led the Hawks with 11 points. The other four starters - Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams - combined for a mere 16.
Johnson, averaging 18.5 a game, was held to six points on 2-of-10 shooting.
This program aired on November 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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