Tip: 8:00pm Court: Phillips Arena Watch it: CSN/ESPN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Monty McCutchen, Tony Brown, Jason Phillips
Playing without Rajon Rondo, the C's used a total team effort to pull away from the Hawks and win 102-90 back in December. The Hawks were without Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford for this game.
Get it to: Ray Allen
Get this guy hot! We're going to need him to get in rhythm soon. So let's start tonight. He's been off lately so let's get him the ball early, get him going, and watch him break out of the slump with a big shooting night. Paul Pierce will likely keep doing what he's doing, but the C's need to get Ray going soon to make things easier on offense.
Gotta stop: Josh Smith
Over the past 4 games, he's averaging 23.5 points and 10 rebounds. But in the two losses to the C's this year, he's 0-11 with 7 rebounds. I don't expect him to put up another oh-fer in this one, but if you can limit his scoring and rebounding, you're taking away a big weapon.
The Wild Card: Delonte West
Rajon Rondo went berzerk last night but he was also gassed. I'd expect Doc Rivers to keep Rondo on a shorter leash if he can… and that all depends on how well Delonte plays. If Delonte can come in and let Rondo sit for a few minutes longer, and maybe be more effective down the stretch.
How we see it goin' down
These are not the Hawks we're used to. They're 25th in points per game, their offensive rating is near the bottom third in the league, and only three teams play at a slower pace. The C's will usually win when this is the chosen style of play.
The C's played a huge game last night. It was a huge effort against a great team on natioinal TV. We all know how the road back-to-backs have gone. I WANT to say the C's will find a gear to grind out an ugly win with both teams scoring in the 80's… but this is type of game the C's have been losing. So I'll say that it probably won't be pretty… and will probably be a loss… somewhere around 91-87.