ATLANTA (AP) – Boston rested Kevin Garnett, but showed off its depth as Glen Davis filled in with 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks 99-93 on Friday night.

Davis matched his career high in rebounds, and Ray Allen led Boston with 22 points.

Boston coach Doc Rivers held out Garnett, who’s still experiencing soreness after missing 13 games with a right knee strain. Garnett played a limited role in four games after returning from the injury but now could miss more time as Rivers attempts to have the high-scoring forward healthy for the playoffs.

Rivers said Garnett, averaging 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds was “just not feeling great,” but would’ve been in uniform for a playoff game.

Atlanta took three home wins over the Celtics before falling in Game 7 in last year’s first-round playoff series, but Boston has won three straight over the Hawks this season, including two at Philips Arena.

Boston twice led by 20 in the final quarter, the last time at 89-69 with 6:07 remaining. Flip Murray scored on a drive with 1:38 remaining to cut the lead to 93-88. Joe Johnson, who scored 22 points, hit a 3-pointer with 1:11 left to pull Atlanta within four at 95-91.

Paul Pierce, who had 21 points, made four free throws in the final minute to protect the lead.

Josh Smith had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Mike Bibby added 19 points for Atlanta.

The Hawks, who have lost three of four, fell to the short-handed Celtics one game after a home loss to San Antonio, which played without Tim Duncan.

Boston led only 43-41 before pulling away with a 21-6 run that covered the final three minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half.

Davis had a double-double in the first half with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Eddie House scored 12 points, all in the first half. Stephon Marbury, who had 11, closed the first half with his third 3-pointer, giving Boston a 52-42 halftime lead.

The Celtics stretched the lead to 17 points with a 12-5 run to open the second half. Rajon Rondo had seven points in the run.

Notes: Hawks coach Mike Woodson tried a big lineup, with 6-foot-11 Zaza Pachulia starting at center, pushing Al Horford to power forward. Pachulia had seven points and only two rebounds. Mo Evans, who had been starting for the injured Marvin Williams, moved back to a reserve role. … Boston’s bench outscored Atlanta’s backups 25-17. … After facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the Hawks will have played the last four NBA finalists in a five-game span.

AP-ES-03-27-09 2227EDT

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