Sunday May 6, 2012

Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Atlanta Hawks seemed to have found the answer to their injury woes: a rejuvenated Tracy McGrady, who was putting together a playoff game reminiscent of his youth.

But then McGrady rolled his right ankle, crumpled to the ground and limped off the court. Although he returned in the second half, he did not make another basket and the Celtics held on to beat the depleted Hawks 90-84 in overtime Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

"Tracy played well for us prior to him turning his ankle," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We've been a team that has had adversity throughout the season, like everybody else, and it says a lot about your team when they can step up in the playoffs short-handed and still put themselves in a position to win the game. We certainly had our opportunity. We just fell short."

The Hawks were already without top centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia when forward Josh Smith went out late in Game 2 with a strained tendon in his left knee. Still, Atlanta seemed to cobble together an effective lineup, employing such little-used reserves as Erick Dampier and Jason Collins while giving more minutes to McGrady.

As the Hawks seem to be losing more and more players, the Celtics are getting theirs back.

Rondo came back after serving a one-game suspension for bumping a referee and had his seventh career playoff triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. And Ray Allen returned for Game 3 on Friday night, his first appearance since April 10.


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"Being back on the floor I felt alive," Allen said. "I felt like I was back in my own skin and it was a great feeling."

Allen received a standing ovation when he checked into the game in the first quarter, and he quickly made a short jumper. He finished with 13 points in 38 minutes, picking up more playing time after Avery Bradley injured his shoulder in the third quarter.