BOSTON – You had to believe that Paul Millsap would get it going offensively for Atlanta at some point.
He’s too good, too talented, too steady a player to be limited for too many games.
But the Boston Celtics’ roster proved to be deep enough to withstand Millsap’s monster game to even up the series with a 104-95 overtime win.
The series is now tied at two games apiece and shifts to Atlanta for Game 5 and then back to Boston where one of these two teams will have an opportunity to move on to the second round.
Millsap, who struggled in the first three games scoring the ball, was unstoppable most of the night and finished with a game-high 45 points.
But Boston got big shot after big shot from Jonas Jerebko in the third quarter to bring the Celtics within striking distance after having fell behind by as many as 16 points.
In the fourth quarter, it was the Marcus Smart show as he got it going both offensively (he had 20 points) in addition to doing the best job of any Celtic in limiting Millsap down the stretch.
And in overtime the Celtics got big time plays from Amir Johnson to help secure a must-win for Boston.
But the Hawks certainly gave the Celtics all they could handle.
And while Millsap was dominant, Atlanta got a couple of huge 3s from Jeff Teague in the fourth quarter with the last giving them a 92-90 lead with less than a minute to play.
Following a Celtics time-out, Isaiah Thomas drove into the lane for the game-tying score with 15 seconds to play which proved to be the final points of regulation. Thomas had a team-high 28 points along with six assists and four rebounds.
Millsap’s strong play pushed the Hawks lead to as many as 16 points in the third quarter, only for Boston to fight back with a 10-2 run of its own capped off by an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer that cut Atlanta’s lead down to 64-56 with 5:03 to play in the third.
The Celtics would eventually regain the lead early in the fourth behind a Jonas Jerebko lay-up that made it a 74-73 game. Jerebko had a second straight double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.