Who will host first round between Celtics-Hawks?

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Who will host first round between Celtics-Hawks?

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics will play the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.

The only question that remains is who will be laying out the fine linen (or whatever you're supposed to do) as a gracious host when the two meet in Game 1?

Ever since the C's locked up the Atlantic Division and the No. 4 seed that came with it, they have clearly made rest a priority over home court advantage in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have made getting home court in the first round of the playoffs an absolute must-have when you consider the number of minutes their core players are logging at a time when most teams are scaling back the playing time of their main players.

Yes, the Hawks are the younger team and can certainly withstand the physical grind of playing their usual minutes going into the playoffs.

But in the postseason, mental toughness on a lot of nights trumps being able to withstand physical fatigue.

And it is that mental toughness that should have the Hawks a bit worried about the C's, regardless of whether or not they have home court advantage.

Boston won the head-to-head regular season series 2-1, with the lone loss coming just a few days ago in Atlanta.

It was a game in which Doc Rivers rested Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, a game in which Rajon Rondo (back), Ray Allen (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (knee) were all back in Boston nursing injuries.

And the game, which should have been a Hawks blowout, came down to the final minute or two before the Hawks escaped with the victory.

"As far as I'm concerned," said Hawks coach Larry Drew, "whether Boston lost the game or not, they accomplished what they wanted -- to have his reserves come out and compete at a high level, and to take us down to the wire the way they did."

And while Atlanta may want to pretend as if the win didn't mean much or would have little impact on this series, there's no escaping the reality that the way things went down on April 20 will be at or near the forefront of the Hawks' thinking as they prepare for Game 1 of their playoff series.

"For us," said Hawks guard Joe Johnson, "It definitely sits a little uneasy. I don't feel like we brought our 'A' game, particularly given they had a few guys out."

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.