With the Hawks trailing the Celtics 81-79 with two seconds remaining, Atlanta center Al Horford stepped to the free throw line with a chance to send Game 6 into overtime. He missed the first and -- to the surprise of many -- made the second. That allowed the Celtics to inbound the ball to Paul Pierce, who was fouled and hit a pair of free throws that capped the scoring in the C's 83-80 victory Thursday night at TD Garden.
The Hawks had no timeouts remaining, and thus no chance to set up a potential game-tying 3-point play from halfcourt once Pierce's free throws were true.
"I didn't really think about it," Horford said. "That's probably something that I should have given some thought. The first one felt good, and I was just kind of surprised when I missed it. Looking back, I probably should've tried to miss the second one, not realizing that we didn't have any timeouts on top of it. There's a lot of stuff going through the game, so I didn't quite catch that."
To be fair, the Hawks wouldn't have even been in the game if not for Horford's fourth quarter. He scored nine of Atlanta's final 11 points over the final 5:13 -- even giving the visitors a 79-76 lead on a layup with 2:23 remaining. Horford finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 46 minutes in just his third game back after missing the final 55 regular-season games with a torn pectoral muscle.
"It's tough, man, it's real tough," he said. "I felt I had to pick it up on the offensive end from there at the end of the game, and it was frustrating for me there at the end to have a chance to tie it and send it to overtime, but I don't feel guilty. I played as hard as I could, and I left it out on the court. It didn't go the way that we wanted, but I know that we gave it all that we had."
For more on the Celtics, visit weei.com/celtics.
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