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Hawks rout Celtics after Howard ejected

No fourth-quarter comeback here.

With the Boston crowd all too willing to remind Atlanta that the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, the Hawks exacted a measure of revenge with a 114-98 victory Monday at TD Garden. The Hawks led by as many as 24 points and didn’t let the Celtics close to a chance.

Go figure this Hawks team.

NBA: Howard should not have been ejected

The victory broke a three-game losing streak, all by double digits, with the last two coming to the sub-.500 Heat and Magic.

The Hawks (33-26) were led by Dennis Schroder with a game-high 21 points as the point guard returned to the starting lineup and had a solid game despite the hype surrounding his matchup with the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas. Schroder was 9 of 14 from the field.

The Hawks had six double-digit scorers, including all five starters. Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap had 17 points each, Kent Bazemore had 15, Thabo Sefolosha had 12 and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 10.

Howard was ejected for a pair of third-quarter technical fouls, his 10th and 11th of the season. The first came after Howard shoved Al Horford after he was fouled with 9:31 remaining. The second game after he tugged on the rim after an offensive rebound and dunk. Howard was sent to the locker room with 4:03 remaining in the period and the Hawks holding a 74-65 lead.

The Hawks used a 22-11 third-quarter run, after the ejection, and lead by as many as 15 points. They took an 84-71 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Celtics (38-22), second place in the Eastern Conference to the Hawks’ fifth, were led by Thomas with 19 points. However, they came on 4 of 21 shooting. No other starter has more than six points.

The Hawks took a 51-47 lead at halftime after a back-and-forth first two quarters. The Celtics led by as many as eight points in the first quarter and the Hawks led by as many as eight points in the second quarter. There were eight lead changes and eight ties in the first 24 minutes. Howard had 12 points and eight rebounds, Schroder had 10 points and Millsap had nine rebounds in the first half.

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