BOSTON, April 30 (UPI) -- Paul Pierce helped Boston pull away with a 13-point first half Wednesday and the Celtics took the playoff series lead with a 110-85 win over Atlanta.
After two unexpected losses in Atlanta, the Celtics seized a 3-2 advantage in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and will try to finish off the eighth-seeded Hawks on Friday.
Atlanta will host Game 6.
Boston built a 15-point halftime cushion and kept the Hawks from making a charge during the final two periods despite Atlanta's constant parade to the free-throw line. The Hawks made 25 of 29 foul shots and Boston went to the line only 15 times.
The Hawks were led by Joe Johnson with 21.