March 16, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) on the bench with his leg wrapped during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Boston Celtics 120-95. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

3/19 Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks Game Day Preview: All You Need to Know

Who?: Boston Celtics (7th in East) vs Atlanta Hawks (6th in East)

When?: March 19 2012; 7:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)

How?: SportSouth HD (TV) & 680 AM (93.7 radio)

Other Atlanta Hawks Coverage: Atlanta Hawks Fan Site, AJC Blog, Peachtree Hoops (SB Nation), Hoopinion (TrueHoop)

FanSided’s Boston Celtics Blog :  Hardwood Houdini

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Projected Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics:

PG: Rajon Rondo | SG: Ray Allen | C: Kevin Garnett | PF: Brandon Bass | SF: Paul Pierce

Atlanta Hawks:

PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kirk Hinrich | C: Zaza Pachulia | PF: Josh Smith | SF: Joe Johnson

Injury/Inactive Players Report:

Boston: Jermaine O’neal (sprained left wrist) and Chris Wilcox (aorta condition) will not be suiting up.

Atlanta: Al Horford (left pectoral surgery) and Jannero Pargo (appendicitis) are out. Willie Green (back), Marvin Williams (hip flexor), and Vladimir Radmanovic (back) are game time decisions.

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Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold:

Records: The Boston Celtics are (23-21) and the Atlanta Hawks are (26-19).

Streak: The Celtics are riding a 2 game losing streak while the Hawks are riding a 2 game winning streak.

Away/Home: The Celtics are (7-13) on the road, and the Hawks are (13-6) at home.

Against .500+ teams: The Boston Celtics post a record of (7-14) while the Atlanta Hawks post a record of (8-15) against teams with winning records.

Boston Celtics- Cool. As I’ve said, the Celtics have lost 2 games in a row, their last loss coming against Denver by 7 and the other loss coming a blowout loss against Sacramento by 25.

Atlanta Hawks- Warming up! Hawks have won 2 in a row now and will be trying to get a 3 game win streak tonight. The Hawks have only done that 4 times this season. The Hawks are also on a 3 game home winning streak.

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Season/Past Season Series:

This will be the first of three meetings between the two teams.

The Celtics won last season’s series 2-1. The Hawks went 1-1 at home against the Celtics last season.

The Hawks will go to Boston on 4/11 before they close out the series back in Atlanta on 4/20.

Game Preview:

The Hawks will look to continue their win streak to 3 tonight vs the Boston Celtics.

This is a game that I’ve been looking forward to, simply because it’s a time for both Joe Johnson and Josh Smith to redeem themselves from last season.

Both Joe and Josh struggled against the Celtics last season. In the two games Joe played vs Celtics, he combined for 25 points in 6 for 30 shooting. In all of the three games Josh Smith played he only combined for 9 points in 18 for 21 shooting.

To say the least, both of them played sub-par.

They can’t play sub-par tonight though. The Hawks are already short handed as it is, so a lot of the load will fall on the two captains. If one of them has a sub-par game, the Celtics have a good chance of winning. If both of them do, you can pretty much count this as a loss (unless someone else somehow has a career night).

This is a big game. Playoff-seeding-implications big. If the Hawks win this one, they’ll be ahead of the Celtics by 3.5 games. If the Celtics win this one, the Hawks will only be up 1.5 games and the 6th spot will be up for grabs.

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3 Things I’m Looking Out For:

  • Joe Johnson’s hot shooting.  Joe has been on fire recently. In 6 games this month, Joe has averaged 25.7 ppg while shooting 53% from the field. I’m not sure if Joe doesn’t feel any more pain in his knee, but it sure does look like he doesn’t this month. It will be interesting to see if Joe Johnson continues that tonight though. He struggled with the Celtics last season, and the Celtics have players that are capable of guarding him like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Mickael Pietrus, and even Marquis Daniels.
  • Josh Smith & Zaza Pachulia vs Brandon Bass & Kevin Garnett. Love this match-up. Josh Smith and Brandon Bass went at it in the first round of the playoffs last season (when Bass was still with the Magic), and Zaza vs Kevin Garnett is always an entertaining match-up to see.
  • Fatigue & rotation.  The Hawks just played yesterday, so fatigue could be a factor for the Hawks. Will Tracy McGrady even play? Will Larry Drew play the starters big minutes again? As for the Celtics, this game is the 6th game of their 8 game road trip. Mentally and physically tired maybe? It’s definitely possible…I mean, in the Hawks’ 6 game road trip, they definitely showed signs of mental fatigue and physical fatigue in the 6th game.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Brandon Bass Game Preview Joe Johnson Josh Smith Kevin Garnett Larry Drew Tracy McGrady Zaza Pachulia

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