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[VIDEO] The Sports Kings: Celtics Even Series With 87-80 Victory…

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Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

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Paul Pierce battled through another tough shooting night to score 36 points and the Boston Celtics wiped out Atlanta’s 11-point lead in the second half even without Rajon Rondo, stunning the Hawks 87-80 on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The series is tied 1-1. Game 3 is Friday night in Boston, and Rondo will be back for the Celtics in that one, his shorthanded team having claimed the home-court edge. The stellar point guard sat out a one-game suspension for bumping an official in the opener.

The Hawks appeared to be in control when they pushed out to a 65-54 lead late in the third quarter. But Boston sliced it to 66-61 by the end of the period, and Pierce led a dominating fourth.

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