Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, December 14, 2018
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
Even a depleted lineup cannot slow down the red-hot Boston Celtics, who have won seven in a row entering Friday’s home contest against the Atlanta Hawks. The streaking Celtics needed overtime in Wednesday’s 130-125 victory at Washington, and while playing without three key players Boston saw guard Kyrie Irving score its final 12 points – including two critical 3-pointers late in extra time – en route to a 38-point performance.
Boston won despite not having Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, who combined contribute 35.7 points, 16.1 rebounds and 8.5 assists per contest, but Irving returned after missing one game with a shoulder injury to hit 12-of-28 shots from the field. “The hallmark of this group has been whoever’s available plays and is counted on to do what they’re supposed to do,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters afterward. “Not everybody had their best night, but everybody did their jobs and kept adding value when they checked in.” The Celtics winning streak surpasses Atlanta’s total of victories on the season, and the Hawks kicked off a stretch of nine-of-12 games on the road with a 114-107 loss Wednesday at Dallas. “I think our turnovers impacted the game more than anything in that stretch where it got away from us,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce told the media after the Hawks finished with 21 turnovers.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Atlanta), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE HAWKS (6-21): Forward John Collins recorded his fifth consecutive double-double Wednesday, pulling down a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 20 points on 10-of-22 shooting. Rookie Trae Young ranks 10th in the league in assists per game (7.3) and is second on the team in scoring (15.7 per game) to Collins’ 18.3 per contest. Atlanta is 2-12 away from home, matching the lowest road win total in the Eastern Conference.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (17-10): Irving is one of 10 players in the NBA to average 21-plus points (22.5) and six-plus assists (6.4) per game, and his 38 points Wednesday is the third-most he’s scored this season. Forward Marcus Morris added 27 points against Washington and in his past two games has scored 58 points on 21-of-36 shooting. Boston hopes Brown and Hayward, both sidelined with illness, can return Friday but expect Horford (left knee pain) to miss a few more games.
1. Boston, which is eighth in the NBA in free-throw percentage (79.5 percent), made all 25 of its attempts Wednesday.
2. Hawks rookie G Kevin Huerter scored a season-high 19 points Wednesday, hitting four 3-pointers.
3. The Celtics rode a 45-point first quarter to a 114-96 victory in Atlanta on Nov. 23, as Aron Baynes scored 16 points with nine rebounds and four assists.