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Hawks vs Celtics preview: Atlanta closes out 2013 with trip to Boston

The Atlanta Hawks look to bounce back from Sunday's loss to the Magic when they close out 2013 with afternoon matinee against the Boston Celtics.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks close out 2013 with afternoon matinee in Boston against the Celtics. Atlanta will be trying to avenge an earlier loss to the Celtics and will look to bounce back from Sunday's loss to the Orlando Magic.

Atlanta comes into the game at 17-14 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. However, this is a much different looking Hawks team than what the Celtics saw in the first meeting.

Al Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle last Thursday in Cleveland and was lost for the season. The Hawks rallied on Saturday to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats in their first game without Horford. They did not have enough gas left in the tank to pull off a come from behind win on Sunday in Orlando.

Mike Budenholzer acknowledged after Saturday's win that it would take some time for his team to figure out how to play with Horford. They have been able to put up some decent offensive numbers in the two games sense his injury but have missed Horford's presence on the defensive end of the floor.

Atlanta's offense has been rolling all month long. The Hawks have scored at least 100 points in 12 of 13 games this month. They have scored at least 114 points in six of their last seven games. Jeff Teague has played particularly well of late averaging 25.5 points and 9.3 assists in his last four games. He finished with 13 points and 10 assists in the first meeting with the Celtics but was just 3-15 from the field.

Boston comes into the game at 13-17 and fresh off of a 103-100 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each finished with 19 points in the victory.

Boston defeated Atlanta 94-87 back on November 23 behind 17 points from Brandon Bass. Atlanta led 76-64 with 11 minutes to go in the first meeting but the Celtics would rally late for the win. Al Horford led the Hawks with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Atlanta comes into the game with plenty of injury concerns. In addition to being without Horford, the Hawks will also be without forward DeMarre Carroll who will miss his second straight game due to a sprained thumb. Second-year guard John Jenkins is also back in Atlanta due to a lower back injury.

Gerald Wallace sat out the second half of Saturday's win over the Cavs after taking a shot to the face. He is listed as questionable for Tuesday's game but returned to practice on Monday and is likely to play.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, December 31, 1 p.m. ET

Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"