BOSTON (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 24 points, Jamal Crawford had 18 and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 97-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Josh Smith scored 14 and Al Horford had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Hawks (7-2) continued their strong start this season, sending Boston to its second straight Friday night home loss.

Last week, Phoenix gave Boston (8-2) its first loss of the season after a 7-0 start.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 24 points despite bruising his left knee early in the third quarter. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins scored 14 points apiece.

Pierce bruised his knee colliding with Smith on a drive to the basket. He sat out the final few minutes of the third, and was wearing a brace and had it taped when he came back early in the fourth quarter.

Looking similar to the upstart Hawks that pushed Boston to seven games in the opening playoff series in 2008, Atlanta looked poised in its half-court offense, converting against the league’s best defensive team.

Atlanta opened the final quarter with a 10-2 run, pulling to an 82-72 lead on Zaza Pachulia’s two free throws with 8:34 to play. The Hawks pushed their lead to 88-76 on Mike Bibby’s free throw with 4:44 to go.

Pierce’s basket in the lane cut it to 88-80, but Boston never made a threat the rest of the way.

The Hawks, who entered the game fourth in the league in scoring and coming off a win over the Knicks on Wednesday, came out looking to run and controlled the tempo early, jumping to a 14-6 edge in the opening 5½ minutes, before the Celtics tightened up defensively and forced it into a half-court game.

NOTES: Boston F Brian Scalabrine was back in uniform after missing Wednesday’s win over Utah with back spasms. … Red Sox DH David Ortiz was seated courtside and got a big cheer when he was shown on the Jumbotron. … Perkins was whistled for a technical for throwing an elbow after scoring a basket in the fourth quarter.

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