ATLANTA — The Celtics return to Atlanta for the second time in less than three weeks to face a Hawks team looking for revenge following Boston’s stirring third-quarter comeback from a 17-point deficit on Jan. 5. The Celtics have lost five consecutive games and every game is becoming monumental and this one is critical given the Miami Heat await the Celtics in Boston on Sunday.
BOSTON CELTICS (20-22)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Avery Bradley
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett
ATLANTA HAWKS (24-18)
PG Jeff Teague
SG Kyle Korver
SF Josh Smith
PF Al Horford
C Ivan Johnson
Officials: Ken Mauer, Tony Brown, Eric Dalen
TV/Radio: 7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet / WEEI
• Devin Harris (sprained left ankle) and Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles tendon) are game-time decisions for the Hawks.
• Atlanta will be without Lou Williams, who scored 28 points in the previous meeting against the Celtics. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during the Jan. 18 game with the Brooklyn Nets. He is out for the season.
• Paul Pierce is in the midst of a major slump, shooting just 40 percent from the field in 10 January games and 31.8 percent from the 3-point line. After averaging 20.8 points in December, the average dipped to 16.4 in January.
• Avery Bradley said his sore ribs are still an issue but they are slowly improving. He missed on game with the injury but has returned to play in the past three.
• After the 89-81 loss to the Celtics, Atlanta coach Larry Drew challenged his team’s heart (sound familiar). Since that post-game rant, the Hawks are 4-6 but have won two straight over Minnesota and Charlotte.
• Doc Rivers said Chris Wilcox is able to play but has not yet cracked the rotation. He hasn’t played since spraining his right wrist on Dec. 18.