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Celtics hoping to snap losing streak as they host the reeling Hawks

The Celtics face the slumping Atlanta Hawks at home after a winless road trip.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks (26-29) at Boston Celtics (19-39)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Game #59 Home Game #29
TV: CSNNE, SportSouth, NBA-LP 754(DTV)/752,753(Xfinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7, 92.9 FM
TD Garden
Referees: Bill Spooner, Eric Lewis, JT Orr

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics face the Atlanta Hawks at home after a winless road trip. This is the 3rd of 4 meetings between these two teams. The Celtics won the first game in Atlanta 94-87 and then fell to the Hawks in Boston on New Year's Eve 92-91. They meet once more in April.

According to reports, both Avery Bradley will miss his 9th game as he rehabs his sprained ankle and Jared Sullinger will miss the game with the mild concussion that he suffered against the Lakers. The Celtics are winless in past games without Sully. Hopefully they can reverse that trend in this game.

The Hawks have some injury problems of their own with 5 players either out or questionable. They are also playing in the second of back to back games after hosting the Bulls on Tuesday night. The Celtics have had a day off after their 4 game west coast swing but the first game back after a road trip is always a tough one to win.

The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost their last 5 games. The Hawks are 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 11-17 at home while the Hawks are 9-19 on the road. The Hawks ended their 8 game losing streak with a win against the Knicks on Saturday but started another losing streak last night, losing to the Bulls at home.

Atlanta is the 8th seed in the East, half a game behind Charlotte for the 7th spot. They are just one game behind the 6th spot and 2 games back of the 5th seed. The Hawks are also just 2.5 games ahead of the 9th spot and falling out of the playoffs. They have a lot riding on trying to win every game. The Celtics have the 4th worst record in the league and are 2 ahead of Orlando and 2.5 games behind the Knicks. They are also 8.5 games out of the playoffs.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jeff Teague

Shooting Guard
Gerald Wallace vs Shelvin Mack

Small Forward
Jeff Green vs Kyle Korver

Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs DeMarre Carroll


Kris Humphries vs Elton Brand

Celtics Reserves
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) day to day
Avery Bradley (ankle) day to day
Jared Sullinger (head) day to day

Hawks Reserves
Mike Scott
Dennis Shroder
Lou Williams
Dexter Pittman
Cartier Martin

Gustavo Ayon (shoulder) questionable
Pero Antic (ankle) out
John Jenkins (back) out
Al Horford (shoulder) out
Paul Millsap (knee) out

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Jeff Teague
Rondo returns from a rest in the last game along with a nice birthday party. Teague is a good young point guard and leads the Hawks with 15.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists. This should be a good matchup

Jeff Green vs Kyle Korver
Korver is always a threat to put up big numbers. He is especially dangerous from beyond the arc where he has a record 124 consecutive games with at least one 3 pointer.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have yet to put together an entire game where they play well. They have periods where they play great and then they have periods when they can't hit a shot and can't defend. They have to find some way to be consistent from start to finish.

Defense - The Hawks depend on the three to score. They are 3rd in the league attempting 24.9 3 pointers a game and they are 2nd in the league, making 9.4 3's per game and are making 37.7% of their shots from beyond the arc. They have several good shooters from distance and the Celtics must up their perimeter defense. They also have to defend the paint better. They have been allowing way too many easy points in the paint.

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards as a team, especially the guards. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics must be the team that wants the win more and the team that wins the rebounding battle.

Set the Pace - The Celtics have to run on every possession. The Celtics have built leads in games by pushing the ball and getting easy shots before the defenses set up. Part of the reason they have given up those leads is that they stop running, stop pushing the ball inside, and stop moving the ball. They have to keep up the pace for the entire game.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team in going after loose balls, in rebounding, in defending, and in rebounding. They have to be aggressive in taking the ball inside and not settling for outside shots, especially when they aren't falling.


Injuries and Back Home
Both teams have been hit with the injury bug. Which team can best make up for the injuries with their bench. The Celtics are back at home. Will the home crowd give them the boost they need to get the win?

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