The Celtics take on the Hawks in a big game in terms of Eastern Conference standings. After winning 13 of 17 games, the Celtics have climbed to the seventh seed in the East and one game back of the fifth-seeded Hawks. The question for the Celtics is if they would rather rise to fourth or fifth and potentially face the Miami Heat in the second round. At this point, however, they are concerned with stringing together wins and getting a key win before heading to Oklahoma City and Charlotte for a challenging two-game road trip.
BOSTON CELTICS (33-27)
PG Avery Bradley
SG Courtney Lee
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett
ATLANTA HAWKS (34-26)
PG Jeff Teague
SG Devin Harris
SF DeShawn Stevenson
PF Josh Smith
C Al Horford
Officials: Tom Washington, Karl Lane, Leon Wood
TV, radio: 8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, ESPN, WEEI (93.7 FM)
• Doc Rivers said while he likes D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph, he hasn’t thought about whether they have done enough to come back on a second 10-day contract. The Celtics have until Sunday to make a decision on White and Monday on Randolph. White played four minutes Wednesday against Indiana with two rebounds and two blocked shots.
• For the Hawks, center Zaza Pachulia (sore Achilles tendon) and Ivan Johnson (dislocated middle finger) are out. Lou Williams is out also after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 18. Like Rajon Rondo, Williams had his surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews.
• Kyle Korver, who hit eight 3-pointers in the second half and both overtimes of the previous meeting with the Celtics on Jan. 25, leads the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (46.1) and third in the league with 127.
• Atlanta coach Larry Drew said the Celtics are “tougher to defend” without Rondo because of the increased ball movement. The Celtics are 13-4 since Rondo went down woth a right knee injury.