at Indiana Pacers (4-2) at Boston Celtics (4-3)
Friday, January 6
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #8, Home Game #4
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP 757/758
Radio: WEEI, WIBC
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups PointGuard
Rajon Rondo vs Darren Collison Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Paul George Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Danny Granger Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs David WestCenter
Jermaine O'Neal vs Roy Hibbert Celtics Reserves
Greg Stiemsma Injured
Mickael Pietrus (knee) out
Ray Allen (flu) probable Pacers Reserves
Jeff Pendergraph Injured
Lance Stephenson (ankle) doubtfulTeam Connections
A.J. Price and Ray Allen both attended the University of Connecticut
Jermaine O’Neal played for the Pacersfrom 2000‐08
Frank Vogel was an assistant coach under Jim O’Brien with the Celtics from 2001‐04
Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird won three championships with the Celtics and had his #33 retired on 2/4/93
Pacers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw was drafted by the Celtics with the 24th overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft and he appeared in 178 games for the Celtics averaging 11.1 points
David West and Brandon Bass were teammates in New Orleans from 2005‐2007.Game Notes
The Celtics have won 4 in a row but those 4 teams have a combined W/L record of 3 wins and 22 losses. The Pacers will be the Celtics first opponent with a winning record that the Celtics will fact since their loss to the Heat in the second game of the season. The Pacers' competition hasn't been much stiffer though as the teams they beat were Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland and New Jersey.
Things may have gotten a bit harder for the Celtics when the Heat demolished the Pacers 118-83 on Wednesday. The Pacers should be hungry for a win and to get their team back on track. Both teams very much need a win over a quality team with a winning record.
Ray missed practice on Thursday and Doc has listed him as questionable for this game but since also said that Ray was feeling much better and the game notes list him in the starting lineup, I'm assuming he'll play. If he doesn't play, expect Dooling to get the start once again.
The Celtics can't afford to come out sluggish as they have in several games so far. If they dig a hole against the Pacers, it won't be as easy to come back as it was against the Pistons or the Wizards. Hopefully we will see an energized Celtics team that will defend their home court and finally boast a win over a team with a record over .500. Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Danny Granger
Danny Granger is a tough player who can hit from outside as well as take the ball to the basket. He always seems to play extra hard against the Celtics. Paul Pierce is slowly getting his rhythm back after his heel injury and hopefully will take another step forward in this game.
Rajon Rondo vs Darren Collison
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. When Rondo is aggressive, he makes the Celtics very tough to beat. Rondo should have a height and experience advantage over Collison and hopefully he will use both to his advantage.
Kevin Garnett vs David West
KG versus the one that got away. West came close to joining the Celtics but signed with the Pacers after the sign and trade with New Orleans fell apart. West is a tough player and I'm sure he will be looking to show the Celtics what they are missing. It will be up to KG and Brandon Bass to show Celtics fans that they are all that this team needs. Keys to the GameDefense
- The Celtics defense has been up and down and they have clamped down in spurts. The Celtics have been playing poor shooting teams and now it's time to show that they can defend against a team that is above .500. They need to work harder on defense than they did against the Nets, especially in the first half, or this could get ugly. Rebound
- Winning the rebounding battle prevents second chance points and tip ins for the Pacers as well as limits fast break opportunities. When the Celtics put out the effort on the boards, it often translates to other areas of the game as well. Move the Ball
- There have been times when the Celtics' ball movement is a joy to behold. They have to continue to move the ball and find the open man. They can't lapse into playing one on one and playing hero ball and expect to win the game.
Hustle and Energy
- The Celtics need to bring some hustle and effort to the game. They have to go after loose balls and chase down rebounds. Too many times we see Celtics standing around while the other team dives for loose balls and chases down rebounds. They must play hard for 48 minutes. They can't come out sluggish as they have in several games and then have to dig out from a hole and they can't let up before the final buzzer. X-Factors
For the first time since their win streak began, the Celtics are facing a team above .500. Can they lift their intensity to play a tough team that will be motivated to bounce back from a blowout loss at the hands of the Heat?