If the Boston Celtics don't win in Atlanta on Friday night, they'll probably have to open the playoffs there next weekend.
For that reason, this potential first-round preview appears crucial as the Celtics - without Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen again - try to sweep the regular-season series with the Hawks.
Boston (37-26) clinched a fifth straight Atlantic Division title Wednesday with a 102-98 win over Orlando, guaranteeing the team one of the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference.
It's not, however, assured of home-court advantage in the opening round. It's possible the Hawks (37-25) could finish in the No. 5 spot but with a better record, which would put Game 1 at Philips Arena.
That scenario would become likely if Atlanta wins Friday. Although the Celtics own the tiebreaker, a defeat would drop Boston two games back of the Hawks in the loss column.
After this game, Boston has two more contests and Atlanta three.
"Our focus is us," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We can't cont...