The Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics are coming off an impressive road win over the Miami Heat last night and will turn their attention to the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday at TD Garden.
Boston registered a 115-107 triumph in Miami thanks to a solid performance from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Pierce netted 27 points and Garnett added 24 for the Celtics, who are seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference standings -- two games behind Indiana.
Rajon Rondo added 18 points and 15 assists for the Celtics, who led by as many as 18 points in the first half and improved to 18-7 since the All-Star break with their third straight win. Rondo has dished out 10 or more assists in 18 straight games. John Stockton had a 29-game streak back in 1992.
"We were efficient," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I told [my players] to take what they give you. They are a great defensive team and will over-load at times. Our guys just stood, waited and made shots."
The Celtics shot a season-best 60.6 percent for the game and will try to improve their 20-9 home record tonight. They are three games ahead of Philadelphia for the division lead and have a four-game road trip on the horizon against Toronto, New Jersey, Charlotte and New York.
Atlanta has won three in a row since losing three of four games, and will continue a three-game road trip tonight in Beantown.
The well-rested Hawks opened the road swing with Saturday's 116-96 blowout of the Charlotte Bobcats and received 18 points from Joe Johnson. Ivan Johnson netted 17 points off the bench, Josh Smith and Jannero Pargo finished with 15 apiece and Zaza Pachulia grabbed 16 rebounds to go with 12 points for the Hawks, who are fifth in the East and sit one game behind Indiana and one-half game in front of Orlando.
"I thought our starters were real flat in the first quarter, but our bench did a great job of providing a spark in the second quarter. (Jannero) Pargo, Willie Green and Ivan Johnson gave us a spark and did a great job. That's what it's going to take, particularly down the stretch," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said.
Atlanta will also visit the Magic and is 15-15 away from home in 2011-12. It lost the first meeting with Boston, 79-76, on March 19 at Philips Arena and is just 5-10 in the previous 15 matchups between the teams. The Hawks have also dropped six of their last eight games in Beantown.