Conference semis could start Saturday

Even if the Celtics defeat the Hawks in Thursday's Game 6 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, Boston might be in action Saturday, depending on whether the 76ers likewise finish off the Bulls the same night.

If a Game 7 is required, the Celtics will travel to Atlanta for a Saturday night matchup at Philips Arena (depending on other potential Game 7 battles, the game will be broadcast on TNT at either 6:30, 7, or 8 p.m.)

If both the Celtics and 76ers win their games on Thursday, ending both first-round series, the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals will be moved up and Boston will host Philadelphia on Saturday night at TD Garden (the broadcast will be on TNT at either 7 or 8 p.m.)

If Boston wins Thursday but Chicago prolongs its series with Philly, the conference semifinals won't start until next week, which could afford Boston ample rest.