Boston Celtics (23-54, 8-30 road) at Atlanta Hawks (34-43, 22-16 home)
Philips Arena, 7:30 pm on CSNNE
Officials: Danny Crawford, Brent Barnaky, Tony Brown
Line: Hawks -7.5 (203.5)
The Celtics have dropped eight straight games, most recently a 115-111 defeat in Detroit on Saturday. Atlanta is also coming off of a loss to the Pistons, falling at home last night, 102-95. The Hawks have won two of the three previous matchups with Boston this season; 94-87 in Atlanta on November 23, and 92-91 on the road December 31. The Celtics took a 115-104 victory in Boston on February 26.
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Jared Sullinger
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Kyle Korver
SF: DeMarre Carroll
PF: Paul Milsap
C: Pero Antic
Avery Bradley, PROB (Achilles)
Jared Sullinger, PROB (Quadricep)
Kris Humphries, OUT (Knee)
Vitor Faverani, OUT (Knee)
Gerald Wallace, OUT (Knee)
Louis Williams, DOUB (Hamstring)
Gustavo Ayon, OUT (Shoulder)
John Jenkins, OUT (Back)
Al Horford, OUT (Pectoral)
WHAT TO WATCH FORThe Hawks are in a tight playoff race: With just five games remaining, they have a 1.5-game lead over the Knicks (33-45) for the Eastern Conference's 8th and final spot. Boston's starting backcourt is ready to go: Rajon Rondo rested his knee on the second night of back-to-backs in Detroit, and Avery Bradley has missed the last 3.5 games with a strained Achilles (in the same ankle that has troubled him all season). Both are expected to start tonight. Danny Ainge and Chris Herren in the broadcast booth: The Celtics general manager, and former player Herren will join play-by-play man Mike Gorman tonight as color-commentators for CSNNE.
NOTESBoston has lost 12 consecutive road games, just one shy of the team-record 13 set in 1979. Kris Humphries did not make the trip to Atlanta, and was scheduled to get an MRI on his right knee Wednesday.
A Hawks' win would be enormous for their postseason chances, but the same could have been said yesterday when they blew a huge opportunity on their home floor against the lowly Pistons. The Celtics are tired of this losing streak, and I expect Bradley and Rondo to play well together in their return.
Boston Celtics 103, Atlanta Hawks 96
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