Celtics try to end long slide in Atlanta

It's been almost six years since the last time the Boston Celtics suffered six straight defeats. They hope to stop the bleeding Friday night in a road matchup with the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The losing trend resumed for the Celtics with Thursday's 89-86 home setback to the rival New York Knicks. Knicks guard J.R. Smith buried a big 3-pointer late to keep Boston winless in its last five games, the longest slide since a five- game drought since last Feb. 15-22.

Boston hasn't lost six in a row since April 4-15, 2007.

"Just down the stretch we had poor execution. Simple and plain," said Celtics small forward Paul Pierce, who had 22 points. "When you need buckets, when the game is tight, you can't turn the ball over, and that's what we did down the stretch."

Rajon Rondo had a team-high 23 points and handed out 11 assists for the Celtics, who shot 40.8 percent for the game and got eight points and 12 rebounds from Kevin Garnett. The Knicks scored 19 points off 12 Boston miscues.

The Celtics have dropped two straight away from home and are just 7-13 as the visitor this season. After Friday's game in Atlanta, the Celtics will head back to Beantown for a four-game homestand versus the Heat, Kings, Magic and Clippers.

Atlanta will play three straight against the Atlantic Division, with Boston, New York and Toronto on the upcoming slate.

The Hawks posted their second win in a row and third in five tries with a 104-92 triumph at Charlotte on Wednesday. Josh Smith led the charge with 30 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, while Kyle Korver connected on 5-of-6 from 3-point-range en route to 21 points.

Ivan Johnson finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds in the victory.

"We just started the last couple of games to turn it around again," said Korver. "So for us, we're just kind of trying to rebuild habits, trying to get our rhythm back. When you got some guys out and you got new guys stepping up, you're going to play with a lot of energy."

Korver has made at least one 3-pointer in each of his last 36 games played. The Hawks shot 12-for-25 from 3-point range against the Bobcats.

Atlanta was playing without the services of Devin Harris, Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia, Anthony Morrow and Lou Williams due to various injuries. Williams is done for the season with a torn ACL, but Devin Harris, Horford and Pachulia are all questionable versus the Celtics.

The Hawks dropped an 89-81 home decision to Boston on Jan. 5 this season and have lost five of the past seven meetings between the Eastern foes.