Hawks could be without Horford, Pachulia

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Hawks could be without Horford, Pachulia

The undersized Celtics could be catching a break as they prepare for their first round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.

First, Al Horford hinted he may be unavailable for the series, then recanted, then again said he probably won't be available. Now, it appears the Hawks could also be without centerZaza Pachulia who is recovering from a sprained left foot.

Pachulia will not play Thursday night in the Hawks' regular season finale, the seventh straight game he will have missed, and when WSB-TV Atlanta askedcoach Larry Drew was asked about the big mans availability in the post season he answered, "Don't know."

Pachuliais expected to be re-examined prior to Game 1, but if both he and Horford are missing it could mean a favorable matchup for Celtics big men Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma.

Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

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Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on how the Boston Celtics path to becoming a title contender will come, through the draft of via trades?

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

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Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”