Atlanta (7-22) at Boston (13-18)

Fair Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Fri Jan 6, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The last time they faced the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics posted their highest point total of the season and still lost.

That’s a familiar scenario for the Celtics, and they’ll try to prevent it from happening again when they host the Hawks for the first of two meetings in five days.

Boston has scored at least 109 points in six straight games, but has lost four of them. Two big reasons for that lack of success are too many turnovers and poor defense.

The Celtics are averaging 17.4 turnovers per game this season, one of the worst averages in the NBA, and allowing 101.1 points per contest.

Boston shot 57 percent from the field on Wednesday to balance its 24 turnovers, tying a season high, in a 109-106 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

“We have to play perfect offensively to win games right now,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I mean, if you give up 35 points off of turnovers and then get outrebounded 17-5 (offensively) and you win the game, that’s an amazing feat. … So again, we’re scoring, but we’re turning the ball over and that is a problem we’ve had all year and we’ve just got to keep working on it.”

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 31 points and 10 assists, while Ricky Davis scored 23 points, Mark Blount added 18 and Delonte West had 11. Pierce, Blount and West each grabbed eight rebounds.

The Celtics have scored more than 100 points in eight consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 3-20, 1997, when they did it in 10 straight.

Boston is seeking its third win in four games and consecutive victories for only the second time this season when they match up with the Hawks, owners of the NBA’s worst record.

Atlanta, though, notched one of its seven victories this season in its only meeting with Boston, 120-117 on Nov. 23.

“When you got that much talent on the court and they go out and play hard every night, anything can happen,” Pierce said of the Hawks. “You know Al Harrington has been playing well this year so we got our work cut out for us. Hopefully we can keep our turnovers down.”

Harrington, Joe Johnson and Zaza Pachulia each scored 18 points for the Hawks on Tuesday, but they still dropped their fourth straight game, 108-97 to the Toronto Raptors. In all four losses, Atlanta has blown fourth-quarter leads.

“I’ve got to help them get over the hump somehow,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “We’re right there … and we threw the ball away three of the next four possessions. You’re not going to beat teams like that.”

Atlanta is the best 3-point shooting team in the league at 40 percent from beyond the arc, but hit just 2-of-11 against the Raptors.

The Celtics, who have won three in a row at home against the Hawks, will travel to Atlanta on Tuesday for these teams’ third and final meeting of the season.

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