BOSTON (AP) — Hawks associate head coach Nate McMillan described his team as being "emotionally drunk" at times in close games this season.
They followed the lead of their best player to earn a much-needed victory.
Trae Young had 40 points and eight assists, and Atlanta snapped a four-game losing streak with a 122-114 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
Clint Capela finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds to help the Hawks earn their first victory over Boston since April 8, 2018, ending a seven-game losing streak. John Collins added 20 points and six rebounds.
"I just think I kind of found a rhythm throughout the whole game and just playing aggressive," Young said. "When you have that aggressive mentality, open shots — you just kind of find them on your own."
The Hawks, who shot a season-high 57% from the field, took a 90-81 lead into the fourth quarter. Boston rallied to cut it to 94-91, but Atlanta responded with an 8-2 run get it back up to 102-93 with 6:33 left.
The Celtics tried to employ an intentional foul strategy on Capela. But he was able to connect on three of his next seven free throw attempts, followed by Young's 3-pointer to make it 108-95.
Boston made one final push, getting within 118-113 with 13 seconds left after Jayson Tatum was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws. But Collins connected on four free throws the rest of the way to close it out.
Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce missed the game to be with his wife, who was awaiting the birth of their second child in Atlanta. McMillan served as head coach in Pierce's absence and announced after the game that the baby was born, though he said he hadn't been informed of the gender.
McMillan said he thinks Pierce would be pleased with how Young, who scored 16 points in the final 12 minutes, kept the team together as the Celtics tried to rally late.
"(Young) has to show that growth of managing a game whether we're up or down in the fourth quarter," McMillan said. "I thought he did a good job of when we didn't have anything, getting us organized down the stretch."
Tatum had 35 points for Celtics, who have lost five out of seven. Jaylen Brown added 22 points.
"It's tough going up and down," Brown said. "But I still think there's a lot to learn, and we have learned a lot."
With Kemba Walker not playing in back-to-back games right now following a preseason procedure on his left knee, Javonte Green took his place in the starting lineup.
But it was Tatum who took on the primary role of guarding Young at the outset.
While it gave Young with a bigger defender to contend with, it didn't stop him from facilitating action when Atlanta had the ball. The results were the same when others, including Green and Payton Pritchard switched onto him.
Young ended the first half with 15 points and four assists, pacing an offense that shot 60% (24 of 40) from the field and scored 40 points in the paint to take a 62-56 lead into halftime.
Boston wasn't crisp at all offensively, turning it over 10 times.
76ERS 118, ROCKETS 113
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 31 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and hit a key jumper late in Philadelphia's victory over Houston.
Seth Curry scored 25 points, and Tobias Harris added 24 to help the Eastern Conference-leading 76ers snap a three-game losing streak. Ben Simmons (illness) didn't play for the 76ers a game after scoring a career-high 42 points and adding nine rebounds and 12 assists.
John Wall scored 28 points for Houston. The Rockets have lost seven in a row.
WIZARDS 130, NUGGETS 128
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal made two free throws with a tenth of a second left and Washington beat Denver for its third straight victory.
Davis Bertans had career highs with nine 3-pointers and 35 points, Beal finished with 25 points and a season-high 10 assists, and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists Washington has won three straight for the first time since December 1-5, 2018.
Jamal Murray led Denver with 35 points, and Nikola Jokic scored 33 points. Murray scored Denver's final 11 points, with his 3-pointer tying it at 128 with 2.1 seconds left. Coming off a loss at Boston on Tuesday night, Denver allowed its highest points total of the season.
MAGIC 107, KNICKS 89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Terrence Ross scored 18 of his season-high 30 points in the second half and Orlando Magic used a decisive third-quarter run to beat New York.
Orlando went on a 25-8 run over the final nine minutes of the third quarter and outscored New York 30-14 in the period to wipe out a three-point halftime deficit.
Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 17 rebounds for Orlando.
Julius Randle had 25 points and seven rebounds for New York.
PACERS 134, TIMBERWOLVES 128, OT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Domantas Sabonis had 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon added 32 points and nine rebounds and Indiana beat Minnesota in overtime.
The Pacers played their second straight overtime game, coming off an OT loss to Chicago on Monday.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. Malik Beasley added 31 points in his first game of the season off the bench.
BULLS 105, PISTONS 102
CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 37 points and Chicago beat Detroit on short notice.
The Bulls were scheduled to visit Charlotte, with the Pistons at Dallas. Those games got called off Tuesday by the NBA because of COVID-19 contact tracing concerns with the Hornets and power outages in Texas. The Bulls and Pistons were then scheduled to play each other, instead.
Jerami Grant scored a career-high 43 points for the Pistons.