11/17 Game Preview: Celtics at Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks will try to extend their streak of success at home against Eastern Conference teams Wednesday night when the Boston Celtics pay a visit.
The Hawks won on back-to-back nights for the first time this season when they defeated Orlando 129-111 on Monday following Sunday's 20-point win over Milwaukee.
Although just 6-9 on the season, Atlanta improved to 5-1 at home and has won 12 straight home games against Eastern Conference opponents. That's the second-best in franchise history, and the longest such active streak in the NBA, according to Elias Sports. The franchise record is 15 set during the 1996-97 season.
Boston enters as a winner in three of its past four games, including Monday's 98-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, earning a split of their two-game set.
For the Hawks, the Monday-Tuesday wins were much needed after they had lost six straight, including a disastrous 0-4 swing through the Western Conference.
"Coming off a West Coast trip like we did, only having 24 hours and we play a game -- and not only a game, but back-to-back games -- this was a tough game," Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. "We played with a lot of energy (Sunday) against Milwaukee, and we had to play against a scrappy Orlando team. It was a gut check."
The Hawks had four starters score 20-plus points Monday -- Trae Young and John Collins with 23, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic with 20 -- but it was the play of veterans Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams off the bench that help provide a late spark.
"It was good for us to continue to work, continue to stay positive," Williams said. "We've put two really good games together. We'll enjoy the day off and see what other adjustments we can make and get ready for (Boston)."
The game marks a homecoming for Boston guard Dennis Schroder, who was Atlanta's first-round draft pick in 2013 and played five seasons with the Hawks through 2018. Schroder, in his first season with the Celtics, has started five straight games for the injured Jaylen Brown (right hamstring strain).
Schroder scored 14 points on Monday, and six came in the crucial final 76 seconds. He scored 38 against Milwaukee on Nov. 12 (his biggest output in four seasons) and is averaging 17.1 points.
"Dennis is a pseudo sixth starter for us, coming off the bench and finishing games," Boston coach Ime Udoka said.
"I think we're all starting to get on the same page," Boston's Jayson Tatum said. "If our offense can match our defense, we'll be in really good shape."
The Hawks may be without guard Kevin Huerter, who felt tightness in his left hamstring in Monday's game and did not play in the second half. Huerter had started in place of De'Andre Hunter, who had surgery on his right wrist Monday and is expected to miss eight weeks.
"They tried to loosen him up during halftime and it just didn't feel right," McMillan said. "He couldn't go. He said it felt a little tight. He didn't want to pull it, so he'll get treatment."
Boston center Robert Williams is dealing with left knee soreness that limited him to 13 minutes on Monday and prevented him from playing the second half.