Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.
FOR A GAME THREAD TONIGHT, JEFF SCHULTZ WILL BE BLOGGING LIVE.
The Hawks will definitely be without center Zaza Pachulia for tonight’s key Eastern Conference matchup against the Celtics. Pachulia, who will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained left foot, did not take part in the morning shoot-around and coach Larry Drew ruled him out.
Drew said he had no further update on just how long Pachulia will be out. He did not practice Thursday but worked with trainers on the side.
Drew said he did not know whether Erick Dampier, who was unavailable Wednesday against the Pistons with a calf injury, would play. He called the back-up center a game-time decision. Dampier did take part in today’s shoot-around.
The Celtics, who held their shoot-around at Georgia Tech, did not travel with Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus. Coach Doc Rivers confirmed that he will rest Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, meaning the Celtics will be without three starters and two key reserves.
While he said both teams want to win tonight’s matchup, Drew said neither wants to show too much as they will very likely meet in the first round of the playoffs.
“With us and not knowing who they are going to have here tonight as far as guys who are going to play or not going to play, we have to keep that in mind,” Drew said. “We certainly have to keep that in mind because the last thing we want to do is to tip our hand totally. We want to go out and play well. We want to keep doing what we do. But at the same time if this is a team we are going to see in the first round we have to be mindful of that and not tip our hand too much.”