The Atlanta Hawks left the Palace of Auburn Hills without any riches for the 11th time in 12 games. The road doesn't get much easier for Atlanta's basketball team, which much try to rebound against a Boston Celtics team that just doesn't lose.
Josh Smith, Al Horford and the Hawks will face a nationally televised test against the East's best team when they take on the Celtics at the Garden on Thursday (8:00 PM, TNT, 97.9 FM). What a test it will be.
Boston (20-4) is riding an 11-game winning streak into this one. A streak that was nearly broken by Amare Stoudemire in Boston's 118-116 escape against the New York Knicks on Wednesday. In that one, the Celtics took the lead on a Paul Pierce jumper with .4 seconds remaining before New York got the ball. Stoudemire launched a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. It found the net, but was ruled to come after the buzzer.
The streak remained.
Atlanta (16-10) is coming off of a disappointing 108-80 loss the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night in Michigan. The Hawks were blown out 39-19 in the final 12 minutes en route to their 27th loss in suburban Detroit in their last 31 games. Since starting the season at 6-0, the Hawks are 10-10.
The Hawks look to avenge an embarrassing 99-76 drubbing by the Celtics on Atlanta's home court on Nov. 22 -- a contest where Atlanta's starters combined for just 27 points.