|Atlanta Hawks 11-12 Season Game #63|
|Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia|
|April 20, 2012, 7:30 PM|
|SportSouth, ESPN, 680 The Fan and 93.7 FM, NBA Audio League Pass|
|Keyon Dooling||PG||Jeff Teague|
|Avery Bradley||SG||Kirk Hinrich|
|Sasha Pavlovic||SF||Joe Johnson|
|Brandon Bass||PF||Josh Smith|
|Greg Stiemsma||C||Jason Collins|
Hawks Injury/Inactive Report: Al Horford (pectoral) and Zaza Pachulia (foot) are out.
Celtics Injury/Inactive Report: Ray Allen (ankle), Mickael Pietrus (knee), and Rajon Rondo (back) did not travel with the team and are out for tonight's game. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are also doubtful for this game.
More SB Nation Coverage: SB Nation Atlanta, CelticsBlog
This might quite possibly be the most important game the Hawks play in the entire regular season.
As it stands right now and what will probably eventually happen, the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks will meet in the first round. It's not official, but you can almost pencil the two in with the 4th and 5th seed. However, what is still up for grabs is who will have homecourt advantage between the two.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Hawks would have the homecourt advantage as they hold a half (.5) game lead over the Boston Celtics. With only 3 games remaining for the Celtics and 4 games remaining for the Hawks, this game is a crucial one. The Hawks need to have the better record by the end of the season to hold that important homecourt advantage.
If the Hawks can win this game, they'll really put themselves in a good situation to be the team to host the playoff series first. If the Hawks lose this game, the Celtics will really put themselves in a good situation to have the homecourt advantage. Basically, this game could actually decide who will have homecourt advantage between the two.
On paper, it looks like the Hawks have the slight advantage tonight with Rondo, Allen, Pietrus, and possibly Pierce & Garnett being ruled out for this game. But like the old saying goes "you can't underestimate any team in this league, no matter what". The Hawks have had trouble with that. At times, they take it easy because they feel like they're the far superior team, and for this game, that's just not true. Even with the injuries Boston have, they still have talent on their roster and you can almost guarantee that all of them will play hard.
The Hawks have to match the sense of urgency Boston will have or we just might see another embarrassing effort on...*gulp*....national television.
Current/Past Season Series:
The Celtics are visiting Philips Arena for the third and final game of the season series. The Celtics hold the season series so far, winning the first two games.
However, the Celtics have only won by a combined margin of 5 points in the two games, and one of those games also went into overtime. It's been a really close series between the two, but Boston has had the edge when it comes to closing games out.
Celtics & Hawks Current Records/Streaks:
Away/Home: The Celtics are 15-17 on the road, and the Hawks have a 20-9 record at home.
Streaks/Trends: The Celtics have are on a 1 game winning streak, and the Hawks have won their last two games. Also, both teams have won 6 out of their last 8 games.
Against .500+ teams: The Celtics post a solid 17-19 record against winning teams, while the Hawks only post an 11-20 record. The Celtics have the 3rd best record in the East against teams with winning records while the Hawks only have the 8th best record in the East.
- Doc Rivers is a former Hawk, and is the franchise's all-time assist leader (3,866).
- Joe Johnson was drafted 10th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2001 NBA Draft. He played 48 games in a Celtics uniform before Boston traded him to Phoenix.
- Both Tracy McGrady (2000-04) and Zaza Pachulia (03-04) played for Doc Rivers in an Orlando Magic uniform.
- Willie Green is 4 points away from having 5,000 NBA career points.