Welcome to the Garden, where the Boston Celtics (18-44) will take on the Atlanta Hawks (26-39) at 7:30 p.m.
The Celtics are coming off a loss Tuesday night in Chicago. The Boston defense focused on Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich, but the Celtics were burned by big men Ben Wallace (19 points) and Tyrus Thomas (23 points).
The Celtics have played 16 sets of back-to-back games this season. Strangely, the team is 3-13 in the first game of those back-to-backs and 6-9 in the second game. Atlanta has won this season’s two previous matchups with the Celtics.
The Hawks come into tonight’s game riding a four-game winning streak following a victory in Philadelphia Tuesday night. The win snapped Philly’s seven-game winning streak. Hawks forward Josh Smith had 26 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in the effort.
Smith was out working on his long-range game with Hawks assistant coaches before tonight’s game. The swingman worked on catching the ball and taking a couple of dribbles to his right before putting up a jumper.
The Hawks have been playing without injured guard Joe Johnson (calf). The former Celtic has missed the last four games.
Paul Pierce was out warming up around 5:15 p.m. tonight. The Celtics captain always warms up early, but tonight he had some help from the team’s ball boys, who were sporting St. Patrick’s Day themed caps and t-shirts. Pierce was joking with the ball boys and later posed with them for pictures in a segment that was being taped by FSN New England.
The Celtics will wear their green-and-gold St. Patrick’s Day uniforms tonight. Atlanta will be in white. Think of this as the reverse of last night’s game in Chicago when the Bulls wore green uniforms and the Celtics wore white.
The Celtics will also wear gray warm-up t-shirts with black shamrocks. The word “Red” will appear in the shamrocks as a tribute to the late Red Auerbach.
For those of you clutching your Tommy Heinsohn bobblehead doll in hopes of a playoff berth, the Celtics sit in last place in the 15-team Eastern Conference. The team is 11 games out of the seventh seed in the conference with 20 games to play, so the playoffs aren’t a mathematical impossibility. The Celtics currently have two more wins than the Memphis Grizzlies in the race for the worst record in the NBA.
Back soon with comments from both locker rooms.