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Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks: Game 1 – Preview & All You Need to Know


Who?: Boston Celtics (4th in East) vs Atlanta Hawks (5th in East)

What?: NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: First Round – Game 1

Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, Georgia)

When?: Sunday, April 29, 2012 – 7:00 PM (ET)

How?: Atlanta – SportSouth HD (TV) / TNT (TV) & 98.9 FM … Boston – Comcast (TV) / TNT (TV) & Sportsnet Radio: WEEI (850AM)

Other Atlanta Hawks Coverage: Atlanta Hawks Fan SiteAJC BlogPeachtree Hoops (SB Nation), Hoopinion (TrueHoop)


Projected Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics:

PG: Rajon Rondo | SG: Avery Bradley | SF: Paul Pierce | PF: Brandon Bass | C: Kevin Garnett

Atlanta Hawks: 

PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kirk Hinrich | SF: Joe Johnson | PF: Josh Smith | C: Jason Collins


Injury/Inactive Players Report:

Boston Celtics: Ray Allen (sore right ankle) & Greg Stiemsma (sore right foot) are day-to-day

Atlanta Hawks: Zaza Pachulia (sprained left foot) is day-to-day. Al Horford (left pectoral surgery) is out.


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

Records: The Boston Celtics are (39-27) … The Atlanta Hawks are (40-26)

Streak: Boston Celtics –> OVERALL: Won 2 / HOME: Won 5 / ROAD: Lost 2  …. Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Won 2 / HOME: Won 2 / ROAD: Won 2

Away/Home Redcords: The Boston Celtics are (15-18) on the road … The Atlanta Hawks are (23-10) at home.

 Against .500 teams: The Boston Celtics are (18-20) against teams over .500 … The Atlanta Hawks are (14-21) against teams over .500

Boston Celtics: Hot. The Celtics have had one of the best records since the all-star break and finished the season winning their final two games. Boston took care of the defending Eastern Conference Champion, Miami Heat 78-66 at home on 4/24 and wrapped up the Atlantic Division on 4/26 with a 87-74 home victory over the Milwaukee Bucks as Rajon Rondo recorded his 24th consecutive game of double-digit assists.

Atlanta Hawks: Hot. The Hawks won their final two games of the regular season, both were against playoff-bound teams in the West. Atlanta beat the LA Clippers 109-102 last Tuesday (4/24) and demolished the defending champions, Dallas Mavericks 106-89 on Thursday (4/26). In those previous two games, Joe Johnson has averaged 21.5 ppg with teammate Josh Smith averaging 20.5 points per game.


Season/Past Season Series:

* For the second straight year, the Hawks dropped the season series to the Celtics, 2-1
* The teams met in the 2007-08 Playoffs (first round), with the top-seeded Celtics coming out with a 4-3 series win over the  eighth-seeded Hawks, with each team winning all their home contests … It was Atlanta’s first playoff series since the 1999  postseason.
* Doc Rivers played for Atlanta from 1983-91 and is the club’s all-time leader in assists (3,866).
* Joe Johnson was drafted by the Celtics (10th overall in 2001) and played in 48 games before being dealt to the Suns.
* 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).
* Doc 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 (189 games).


Results: 1-2
All-Time Results: 132-218
Home Record: 84-80
Road Record: 34-117
Neutral Court: 14-25
All-Time Playoffs: 23-36
Current Streak: Won 1

MARCH 19 at ATLANTA (Celtics 79 – Hawks 76): Improbable comeback falls just short

The Hawks nearly pulled off an improbable comeback but Jeff Teague’s game tying three-pointer was off the mark as Boston held off Atlanta 79-76 at Philips Arena … Atlanta trailed 75-60 with under three minutes to play but went on a 16-2 burst to cut it to one with 11 seconds on the clock … Ray Allen then made two free throws setting up Teague’s shot … An offensively challenged first quarter, which saw Atlanta shoot .316 from the floor and Boston hit .250, ended with the Hawks holding a 15-12 lead … Things didn’t get much better in the second (Celtics won the stanza 19-18), but the Hawks still managed a 33-31 edge at break …
Points continued to be at a premium in the third but the Celtics were able to trim the lead to 51-50 thanks to Allen’s three-pointer at the buzzer … Boston took their first lead, 52-51, since the first quarter (12-8) with just under 11 minutes to play … A 17-2 run a few minutes later put the Celtics up for good … Joe Johnson fueled the Hawks’ comeback attempt, scoring 14 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth, including three triples in Atlanta’s late flurry … Zaza Pachulia (16 points\13 rebounds) and Josh Smith (10 points\11 rebounds) each had a double-double … Allen scored 19 to lead Boston and Rajon Rondo had 10 points and 13 assists.

APRIL 11 at BOSTON (Celtics 88 – Hawks 86 OT): Atlanta drops overtime heartbreaker

In what proved to be a playoff preview, the Celtics posted an 88-86 overtime win over the Hawks in Boston … Down two in overtime with under 10 seconds to go, the Hawks had a chance to win but Josh Smith’s triple was off the mark and Atlanta couldn’t corral the rebound for another shot … The Celtics grabbed a 26-25 lead after one but the Hawks locked down defensively in the second, holding Boston to 14 points, taking a 48-40 lead at the break … Atlanta built a nine point advantage in the third but the Celtics were able to whittle it to one heading to the final frame … The teams went back and forth in the final 12 minutes
and with the score knotted at 84 with under 30 seconds to play, the Hawks made one more defensive stand forcing a 24-second violation … Atlanta had possession with 5.8 seconds to play in regulation but Jannero Pargo’s shot wouldn’t drop sending the game to the extra session … The Celtics had a huge edge on the glass 56-39 (15-6 on the offensive end) … Rajon Rondo had a triple-double (10 points\10 rebounds\20 assists) to pace Boston, while Kevin Garnett (22 points\12 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (21 points\10 boards) had double-doubles … Jeff Teague scored 21 to lead the Hawks and Smith tallied 20 points and 11 boards … Joe Johnson added 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 13 … The game was Atlanta’s eighth overtime affair on the season, tying a franchise record.

APRIL 20 at ATLANTA (Hawks 97 – Celtics 92): Hawks outlast Celtics

The Hawks beat the Celtics 97-92 at Philips Arena, earning their first win over Boston this season … However the team Atlanta will see in the postseason will look quite a bit different, as Boston sat out regulars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus … Joe Johnson led all scorers with 30 points and Josh Smith had a double-double (19 points\12 rebounds) … Both teams were outstanding offensively in the first half … Each club hit 23-38 FGs (.605) but the Hawks had the edge in 3-point shooting (5-9 to 2-3) and FT shooting (7-9 to 1-4) helping them to a 58-49 lead at the break … Things changed in the second half as Boston outscored Atlanta 22-16 in the third and cut the lead to one several times in the fourth … However, Willie Green and Joe Johnson made the plays down the stretch to secure the win … Avery Bradley led Boston with 28 points … Atlanta committed 19 turnovers (leading to 25 points) while the Celtics had 12 miscues … The Hawks finished the night shooting .514 from the field (9-17 3FGs) and outrebounded Boston 41-33.


ROUND ONE SCHEDULE (* if necessary)

Sunday, April 29 vs BOS – 7:00 (ET) — SPSO HD/TNT/98.9 FM
Tuesday, May 1 vs BOS – 7:30 (ET) — SPSO HD/NBA TV/98.9 FM
Friday, May 4 at Bos – 7:30 (ET) — SPSO HD/ESPN2/98.9 FM
Sunday, May 6 @Bos – 7:00 (ET) — SPSO HD/TBD/98.9 FM
Tuesday, May 8 vs BOS – TBD ** — SPSO HD/TBD/98.9 FM
Thursday, May 10 @Bos – TBD ** — SPSO HD/TBD/98.9 FM
Saturday, May 12 vs BOS – TBD ** — SPSO HD/TNT/98.9 FM