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BOSTON CELTICS (23-21) at ATLANTA HAWKS (26-19)

BOSTON CELTICS (23-21) at ATLANTA HAWKS (26-19)

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BOSTON CELTICS (23-21) at ATLANTA HAWKS (26-19)

Atlanta is extremely banged up with four players missing

2012-03-19

Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET

Line: Atlanta -1½, Total: 183



The Celtics begin the East Coast portion of their monster road trip when they visit a surging Atlanta team on Monday night.



Boston has dropped its past two games on the eight-game trip, while the Hawks have won two in a row and are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 contests. Although Atlanta has been hit hard with injuries, the Celtics just can't be trusted on the road, going 2-11 (SU and ATS) in their past 13 contests outside of Boston. The C's are also 2-5 (SU and ATS) in the past seven meetings overall with the Hawks and 2-7 ATS in the past nine trips to Philips Arena. Don't be too concerned about Atlanta being tired from Sunday’s win in Cleveland, because it is an amazing 9-2-1 ATS with zero days rest this season, including 5-0 SU and ATS when going from away to home on consecutive nights.ATLANTA is the pick on Monday night.



Boston is finally near full-strength with the exception of C Jermaine O’Neal who remains out with a wrist injury. But the Celtics have been horrible in their past two games, losing by 25 in Sacramento and then falling by seven in Denver. They were dominated on the glass in both games, getting outrebounded by a combined 91 to 55. But fortunately for Boston, the Hawks rank 22nd in the league in rebounding margin (-1.3 RPG) and are missing some of their big men due to injuries. SF Paul Pierce is averaging 18.8 PPG in the first five games of the trip, but he has a minus-20 rating and is shooting just 36.7% from the floor (7-for-26 threes). PF Kevin Garnett has scored 18.2 PPG with 8.8 RPG in these past five contests, and he’s been much more efficient in scoring at 62.5% FG and 11-of-12 FT. PG Rajon Rondo has dished out 12.4 APG on the road trip, but he’s also committed 4.4 TOPG.



Atlanta is extremely banged up with four players missing Sunday’s 103-87 win in Cleveland -- SF Marvin Williams (hip flexor), SG Willie Green (hamstring), PG Jannero Pargo (stomach virus) and PF Vladimir Radmanovic (back). But the team’s core players were all healthy, with SG Joe Johnson pouring in a game-high 28 points (11-of-16 FG) and the point guard tandem of Jeff Teague and Kirk Hinrich combining for 32 points on 14-of-24 FG (4-of-9 threes) in the win over the Cavaliers. This three-guard set was very effective, and probably something the Hawks will employ on Monday night with Williams not expected to suit up. PF Josh Smith had a terrible shooting night (3-of-15 FG), but pitched in with a team-high nine assists and grabbed eight boards in his 29 minutes of action. Playing against the Celtics might not get him out of his shooting slump though, considering he was just 3-for-21 from the floor in three meetings with Boston last season.



BOSTON CELTICS (23-21) at ATLANTA HAWKS (26-19) News



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