After three dominant wins over non-playoff teams, the Hawks face the Boston Celtics on the road Wednesday night in a possible preview for the first round of the postseason. While Atlanta has been feasting on teams with records under .500, Boston has been powering through the toughest portion of their schedule. Already in April they have faced Chicago, Miami, San Antonio, Indiana and Philadelphia, and this week they face the Heat for a second time the night before hosting the Hawks.
>> Hawks - Al Horford (pectoral muscle) is out, and Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is day-to-day.
>> Celtics - Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) is out, and Mickael Pietrus (head injury) is day-to-day.
Keys to the Game:
Boston is wrapping up its third set of back-to-backs tonight, while Atlanta played only three games in the first 10 days of April. Furthermore, the Celtics had a long flight home from Miami after their win last night, and did not arrive back in Massachusettes until well after 1am. This fact should not cause the Hawks to overlook this game at TD Garden, since there are many examples this season where teams that are worn down have found ways to muster up energy. Let's face it, muscles don't feel quite as sore when you get the "W".
The first meeting between these two teams featured a slow-paces, defensive struggle for three quarters, and then an offensive explosion in the fourth. The Celtics have forced many teams into a halfcourt game this season, and are allowing just 89.3 points per contest. While a faster pace game SHOULD benefit the Hawks, they need to be selective with their timing. Particularly on the road, Atlanta needs to avoid turnovers and take smart shots to keep Rajon Rondo from getting easy baskets.
- Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers played for the Hawks from 1983-1991.
- Tracy McGrady played for Rivers in Orlando from 2000-2004.
- Joe Johnson was originally drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in
the 2001 draft.