Sometimes the best thing you can do after coming home empty on a two-game road trip is get right back to work. The Atlanta Hawks will get a chance to do just that when they take on the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night at Philips Arena (7:30 PM, SportSouth, 97.9 FM).
Atlanta flies back south after leaving the Palace of Hawks losses in Auburn Hills and the fruitless Garden in Beantown with a pair of disappointing losses. The Hawks dropped a 12 point decision to the red-hot Celtics, who won their 12th straight game on Thursday night. Josh Smith was 0-for-8 in the contest and has three points in Atlanta's first two matchups against the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics.
The loss came on top of a 23 point embarrassment at the hands of the Detroit Pistons, who have won 27 of 31 against Atlanta at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Hawks may be forced to play this one without reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, who was held out of Thursday's game in Boston with a sore back. Atlanta is also without leading scorer Joe Johnson, who will miss at least the next two weeks after undergoing right elbow surgery.
The Bobcats (9-16) come into this one struggling away from the Time Warner Cable Arena. Charlotte dropped its seventh straight on the highway with a 113-80 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, rankling the feathers of coach Larry Brown, who lashed out against his team after the loss.
"We didn't play hard," he said. "We acted like we didn't care. I had to get them at halftime and beg them to play. That's not what I'm supposed to be doing. There was no effort and no teamwork."
Things could be rough for the Bobcats, who may play this one without star Gerald Wallace. Wallace missed Wednesday's game with sprained left ankle.
Charlotte will try to regroup against a Hawks team that has had its own struggles. After starting the season at 6-0, Atlanta has lost 11 of its last 21 games and enters the Friday night tilt in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.