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Hawks take down Celtics... again
Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers argues with officials as he is ejected from the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Boston, Monday, Jan. 11, 2010. The Hawks beat the Celtics 102-96. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) - photo by Associated Press

BOSTON — Joe Johnson scored 36 points, going 5 of 7 from 3-point range, to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 102-96 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

The Celtics have dropped only 10 games all season and three have been to Atlanta, which had lost seven straight to Boston coming into the season.

Rajon Rondo had 26 points and seven assists for Boston. Rasheed Wallace was a last-minute scratch because of a sore left foot, and Boston was already without Kevin Garnett.

The Hawks trailed by 14 points early in the second quarter but closed the gap in the third thanks to three straight technical fouls on the Celtics coaching staff.

Head coach Doc Rivers was ejected.

Al Horford had nine points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, and reserve Jamal Crawford scored 17 — including the last six of the game. Mike Bibby had just five points and two assists in 18 minutes for the Hawks.

Crawford hit a 3-pointer to make it 75-75 in the final minute of the third quarter — the first tie since the first quarter. Boston opened an 84-77 lead, but Johnson hit a 3-pointer followed by a fastbreak layup and, after the teams traded a few misses, made another basket to tie it with 7:26 left.

It was 96-96 after a three-point play by Glen "Big Baby" Davis with 2:33 left before Crawford was fouled attempting a 3-pointer; he hit two of three foul shots. Boston's Ray Allen missed a 3-pointer, then Crawford drove to the basket to make it 100-96. Allen missed a foul-line jumper before Crawford hit a long 2-pointer to clinch it.

The Celtics were left short-staffed when Wallace was scratched from the lineup about a half-hour before the opening tipoff with a sore left forefoot. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said Wallace was having trouble pushing off when he jumped, so Rivers decided to give him the rest.

Wallace had been starting since Garnett went down on Dec. 28 with a hyperextended right knee, and Rivers said Monday that he expects him to miss another 10 days.

"He got to start working out today for the first time," Rivers said. "Now it's just a conditioning thing. We want to make sure he gets strong and back in shape because he literally hasn't done anything. We figure 10 days to two weeks, that's what it'll take."

But Rivers joined them in the locker room with 6:16 left in the third quarter when he picked up two technical fouls arguing about a flagrant foul call on Davis. Assistant coach Armond Hill took over for Rivers — and then drew a "T'' of his own.

The Celtics led 67-57 when Davis rode Marvin Williams away from the basket on a fast break. Crawford made three free throws, then Williams hit one of two for the original foul to cut the deficit to six points.

NOTES: Rivers, who played for the Hawks from 1983-91, is still their all-time leader in assists. ... Scalabrine hit consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter to help Boston open a 13-point lead. ... Kendrick Perkins had 11 points and nine rebounds for Boston.