Wednesday, February 26, 2014
W2W4: Celtics vs. Hawks (Game 59 of 82)
By Chris Forsberg
The Boston Celtics (19-39, 11-17 home) host the Atlanta Hawks (26-30, 9-19 away) on Wednesday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
- HOME SWEET HOME?: The Celtics limped back home after a winless four-game post-All-Star break road trip out west and haven't played at the Garden in two weeks. Will they get any reinforcements? Jared Sullinger (concussion) missed the final two games of the trip, while Avery Bradley (ankle) and Vitor Faverani (knee) did not travel. The Celtics have lost five straight overall and are not making the strides, particularly on the defensive end, that coach Brad Stevens hoped for coming out of the midseason break.
- HAWKS AT A GLANCE: The Hawks endured an eight-game losing streak before upending the Knicks on Saturday. Atlanta is coming off a back-to-back after a 107-103 loss to Chicago on Tuesday night. Atlanta has slipped to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but still has a three-game lead over their nearest foe (Detroit). Over their last 10 games, the Hawks rank 24th in the league in offensive rating and 23rd in defensive rating (this despite ranking 14th in offensive rating and 16th in defensive rating for the season).
- LOOSE BALLS: Boston owns Brooklyn's 2014 draft pick, but the Hawks have the right to swap that pick with their own. That seemed like a no-brainer when the Nets were struggling at the start of the year, but they've since surged ahead of Atlanta. Boston seems more likely to get Brooklyn's first-round selection, which is currently slotted at 17th. ... From STATS LLC: The Celtics are allowing 104.0 points per game on 49.8 percent shooting during their five-game skid after limiting opponents to an average of 94.8 points on 41.9 percent in winning four of the previous five. ... The Hawks have been without Paul Millsap (knee), Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), and Pero Antic (ankle) in recent games.
(Read full game preview)