8 a.m. ET: The Celtics have turned into a green machine, churning out wins with regularity as the team makes yet another late-season playoff push.
The Celtics (33-27) head into Friday’s game with a four-game winning streak. The lurk just a single game behind the fifth-place Hawks (34-26) in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, and could leapfrog two spots if the Bulls lose their game against the Jazz. (Brooklyn is not out of reach, either. The Nets are technically 1 1/2 games ahead of the Celtics, but a Nets loss and a Celtics win would leave them tied in the loss column.)
The Hawks will not be an easy mark, but the Celtics may be getting them at an opportune time. Atlanta has lost its last three road games and snapped its losing streak with a win over the dreadful Sixers on Wednesday. This game begins a brutal stretch for the Hawks, who face the Celtics, Nets, Heat and Lakers in the next seven days, with two back-to-backs. Perhaps Josh Smith and company can be caught looking ahead on Friday.
Join us for updates and analysis from the TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.