UPDATE – Al Horford and Devin Harris are game-time decisions.
Horford has been dealing with a stomach illness and did not particapate in Friday morning’s shootaround. He’s doubtful.
Harris missed the last two games with a sore left foot. He did take part in the shootaround.
Johan Petro will start at center if Horford can’t go.
The Atlanta Hawks head to Beantown for the fourth and final meeting of the regular season against the hated Boston Celtics.
This is a pivotal battle with playoff-seeding contentions as the Hawks sit just 2.5 games ahead of the Celtics at the sixth spot in the East standings. The C’s hold the seventh seed, just 2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Boston has gotten the better of Atlanta thus far, winning two of the three games already played. They won the first meeting of the year on Jan. 5 in Atlanta 89-81. The Hawks got revenge at home 20 days later when they outlasted those chowder heads 123-111 in 2OT. But the Celtics reclaimed the upper hand with a 107-102 OT win in Boston on March 8, taking a 2-1 series lead.
The C’s have been struggling as of late, but just snapped a five-game losing streak thanks to Jeff Green’s buzzer beater on Wednesday in Cleveland. Green has stepped up big time since veteran leader Kevin Garnett went down with an injury, including leading Boston in Wednesday’s win with 21 points seven rebounds. He’s averaging 21.4 points on 52.6 percent shooting — including 12 for 23 from 3-point range — in seven starts this season.
Paul Pierce is averaging 26.5 points for Boston in the two wins and was held to 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting in the loss.
Hawks point guard Jeff Teague has averaged 22.0 points on 55.6 percent shooting in the three meetings. He needs to be the x-factor tonight in order for the team to get over their recent woes in Boston.
The Hawks have dropped 15-of-17 in Beantown, including the 2008 and 2012 playoffs.
Despite being on enemy soil, with Garnett and Rajon Rondo — who suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury against the Hawks on March 8 — inactive for tonight’s matchup, this is a game Atlanta must win.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics
What?: Series Finale (Game #73, Road Game #38)
Where?: TD Garden (Boston, MA)
When?: Friday, March 29, 2013 – 7:30 PM (EST)
How?: SportSouth HDTV / 93.7 FM
Projected Starting Lineups
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: DeShawn Stevenson | SF: Anthony Tolliver | PF: Josh Smith | C: Johan Petro
PG: Avery Bradley | SG: Paul Pierce | SF: Jeff Green | PF: Brandon Bass | C: Chris Wilcox
Injury/Inactive Players Report
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford (stomach illness) and Devin Harris (sore left foot) are game-time decisions. Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) and Lou Williams (torn ACL, right knee) are out.
Boston Celtics: Courtney Lee (mild left ankle sprain) is day-to-day. Kevin Garnett (left ankle inflammation), Jared Sullinger (lumbar disc surgery) and Rajon Rondo (torn ACL, right knee) are out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (40-32) … Boston Celtics (37-34)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Won 1 / HOME: Lost 1 / ROAD: Won 1 … Boston Celtics –> OVERALL: Won 1 / HOME: Lost 2 / ROAD: Won 1
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (18-19) away … Celtics are (24-11) at home.
Atlanta Hawks: Lukewarm.
Boston Celtics: Lukewarm.
Season/Past Season Series
Boston hosts Atlanta for the second time in the fourth-and-final showdown between the clubs. The teams split two games at Philips Arena this year, with Boston posting an 89-81 triumph (1/5), coming back from a 19-point deficit. The Hawks evened things up with a 123-111 double-overtime win on 1/25, coming back from 27 down for the victory. The Celtics took game three, a 107-102 home decision, in overtime on 3/8. Josh Smith (20.3 ppg/10.7 rpg) and Al Horford (17.3 ppg/11.7 rpg) are averaging double-doubles in three games against the Celtics this year, while Jeff Teague is scoring at 22.0 ppg clip. Paul Pierce is averaging 21.7 points in three games versus Atlanta. The Celtics have taken three straight home games against the Hawks, with Atlanta’s last win in Beantown coming on 1/11/10 (102-96). Boston leads the all-time series 220-133 (118-34 at home).
LAST MEETING — CELTICS 107, HAWKS 102 — TD GARDEN (BOSTON, MA) — 3/8/13
Atlanta trailed by 12 with under six minutes to play in the game before mounting a furious comeback to knot things up at 94. The Hawks had possession of the ball with 2.8 seconds showing on the clock, however Josh Smith’s buzzer beater was off the mark. Atlanta scored the first four points of the extra session but Boston closed things out on 13-4 to secure the victory. Smith scored a season-high 32 points on the night, also recording a nine assists (tied season-best) and eight rebounds. Al Horford continued his hot play with 22 points and 13 boards and Jeff Teague had 26 points and nine assists. Devin Harris added 12 points. Paul Pierce paced the Celtics with 27 points and former Hawks Jason Terry had 19 off the bench. Led by Terry’s effort, the Celtics bench outscored their Atlanta counterparts 46-8. The Hawks had a 48-32 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded the home team 41-35 (including 10-2 on the offensive end) but it wasn’t enough to overcome Boston’s .513 FG% for the game (10-20 3FGs). The Hawks finished the night shooting .455 from the field.
Doc Rivers played for Atlanta from 1983-91 and is the club’s all-time leader in assists (3,866). Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo were roommates at Oak Hill Academy. Celtics assistant Armond Hill served in the same capacity with the Hawks in 2003-04 and is a former Hawk (six seasons). Jason Terry played for the Hawks from 1999-2004. Rivers coached Zaza Pachulia with Orlando in 2003-04. Hawks scout Greg Ballard coached Kevin Garnett (1999-2004) during his time with Minnesota. Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue was a Hawk from 2004-08. Jordan Crawford played in 16 games in a Hawks uniform as a rookie in 2010-11.
Information was used from the Hawks and Celtics official gamenotes