The last time the Hawks saw the Celtics, Boston was at the low point of its season. Atlanta had just come back from a large deficit to defeat the Celtics in double-overtime in a game where Rajon Rondo also suffered a torn ACL and was lost for the remainder of the season.
Since that game however, Boston has gone 13-4 and enter Friday's game just one-game behind the Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics are just one of the teams that Atlanta is battling it out with for playoff positioning. In fact the difference in second place and seventh place in the East is just 4.5 games. Brooklyn, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston are all within 1.5 games of each other so the playoff picture changes nightly and anytime these teams go head-to-head is increasingly important.
The Hawks and Celtics have split two matchups at Philips Arena this season. Atlanta watched a big early lead fizzle away in a 89-81 loss at the beginning of January. They rebounded by making a comeback of their own against the Celtics on January 25 in the double-overtime win.
Overall the Hawks have won six of ten and snapped a three game losing streak with a win over Philadelphia on Wednesday. Following that win, Larry Drew expressed concern saying that his team was tired following a six-game road trip in which they went 3-3. Atlanta had one day off before facing the Sixers and did not practice on Thursday before leaving for Boston.
Zaza Pachulia sat out Wednesday's game with a sore Achilles that has bothered him for some time. His availability against the Celtics will likely be determined closer to tip off. Kyle Korver suffered a sprained toe on the road trip but returned to action against the Sixers.
Game Date/Time: Friday, March 8, 8 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Radio: 680 The Fan, 93.7 FM
Odds: Atlanta is a four point underdog tonight at Boston.