Victories made extra effort to avoid the Boston Celtics over the weekend, with the previously hot Celts losing to the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets in games that both got out of hand at points. Boston will try to get back on its feet when it battles the Eastern Conference foe Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA (CSN/WEEI).
Boston's loss to Sacramento was without a doubt the worst of the weekend, and in reality, the season. The Celtics' poor effort was highlighted by a 41-point third quarter for the Kings, paced by Marcus Thornton who finished with 36 points. Remarkably, the Celtics were only down one point at halftime, 52-51, before melting and ultimately losing, 120-95.
The Celtics followed up their loss in Sacramento by falling short against the Nuggets the next night at the Pepsi Center, losing 98-91. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 22 points a piece, but Denver received a balanced effort throughout the roster, highlighted by an 18-point, 16-rebound game from Kenneth Faried. Boston shot 47.4 percent from the field.
Monday's meeting marks the first of the season between the Celtics and Hawks, but the two teams will meet twice more -- once in Atlanta and once in Boston -- before the end of the season. Atlanta (26-19) is currently third in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference and has won two in a row against the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the Hawks have been playing nearly .500 ball since the All-Star break, posting a 6-5 record.
Boston just finished up the West coast portion of its current eight-game road trip, in which it went 2-3. The Celtics continue to creep closer to home, where they will play again on March 25, with road games against the Milwaukee Bucks (Mar. 22) and Philadelphia 76ers (Mar. 23).