On Thursday night the Atlanta Hawks got a much-needed boost from their All-Star Paul Millsap. The power forward was back on the court for his team to help lead them to a victory over fellow playoff team the Boston Celtics. The Celtics were able to outscore Atlanta in the second half but were unable to overcome the points difference Atlanta built up in the first half. The loss now has the Celtics a bit farther away from Cleveland for the top spot in the Eastern Conference NBA playoff picture while Atlanta is trying to maintain their No. 5 seed. Here's the latest game recap on how the Celtics vs. Hawks matchup played out on Thursday evening.

Millsap double-double leads way

As mentioned earlier, Paul Millsap had been originally listed as "out" along with other players for tonight's matchup. However, Millsap came into the game off the bench. He played a total of 29 minutes for the game and finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds along with four assists and two steals. Millsap shot 8-for-12 from the field and hit a three-pointer while also making 9-of-12 free throw attempts to lead his team. Teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 23 points, five assists, and five rebounds. Taurean Prince had 20 points along with seven boards and four assists.

The Boston Celtics have now lost their second-straight game after falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers a night prior.

Isaiah Thomas finished with 35 points on 10-for-21 shooting which included connecting on four of his eight three-point shot attempts. Jae Crowder finished with 24 points while Avery Bradley added 17. The Celtics shot just 41.1 percent for the game, compared to a red hot 47.8 percent for Atlanta and were out-rebounded 52-38 for the game.

NBA standings & what's next

With the win, Atlanta is now at 40-38 for the season. The Hawks are holding the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. While they can't move up to the four spot, they can certainly fall if they lose some remaining games with several teams below them that are close by regarding record.

They'll face a tough game on Friday night as they head to Cleveland for a 7 p.m. Eastern Time meeting with LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

The Boston Celtics drop to 50-29 for their season with just three games left. They now trail Cleveland by 1.5 games for the Eastern Conference top spot in the NBA playoff picture. Next up, Boston plays against the Charlotte Hornets in a road game this Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. For their final two games, they'll play at home on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets and then again at home on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks to close out the regular season.

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