at Indiana Pacers (19-13) at Boston Celtics (14-17)
Friday, January 4
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #32, Home Game #16
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP 758(IND)/759(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, 1070 The Fan
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups PointGuard
Rajon Rondo vs DJ Augustin Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Lance Stephenson Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Paul George Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs David WestCenter
Kevin Garnett vs Roy Hibbert Celtics Reserves
Chris Wilcox (thumb) out
Rajon Rondo (hip/thigh) will play
Fab Melo (concussion) out Pacers Reserves
Orlando Johnson Injured
Danny Granger (knee) out
George Hill (groin) day to day Team Connections
Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert were teammates at Georgetown from 2004-07
Frank Vogel was an assistant coach with the Celtics from 2001-04
Brandon Bass was teammates with David West in New Orleans from 2005-07
Bass, Jason Terry and Gerald Green were teammates in Dallas during the 2008-09 season
Avery Bradley and D.J. Augustin both attended Texas
Jason Terry and Ian Mahinmi were teammates in Dallas from 2010-12
Gerald Green was drafted by the Celtics with the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and played for the Celtics from 2005-07
Pacers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw was drafted by the Celtics with the 24th pick in the 1988 NBA Draft and played for the Celtics during the 1988-89 season and from 1990-92
Leandro Barbosa played for the Pacers during the 2011-12 season.Game Notes
The Celtics host Gerald Green and the Pacers as they look to get back on track and snap a 4 game losing streak. This is the first of 3 meetings between these two teams this season. They will meet once more in March and once in April. Last season both teams won 2 games, with the Celtics winning their last two meetings.
These two teams have been going in opposite directions. The Pacers have been playing very well and have won 2 in a row and 8 of their last 10 games. They are 1st in the Central division and 4th in the East. On the other hand, the Celtics have lost 4 in a row and have won just 2 of their last 10 games. They have slipped to 4th in the Atlantic, just 2.5 games ahead of the Raptors. They have also slipped out of the playoff race, just behind the Sixers who are in the 8th spot.
Danny said in an interview that Doc is going to shake things up and that with Avery back, we now have the lineup from last season that played so well together. I originally went with Collins at center, which is posted int he game notes. But after reading Danny's comment, I'm thinking we may see Brandon back at PF and KG moving back to center for this game. I like it. Hopefully Doc will too.
The Celtics are 9-6 at home, in spite of the loss to the Grizzlies there in their last game. The Pacers have struggled somewhat on the road with just an 8-10 record away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Celtics have got to find a way to get back on track and hopefully this will be the game that they figure it. Otherwise, they will have their 5th straight loss and a lot of panicking fans. Key Matchups
Brandon Bass vs David West
As with the Grizzlies, the Pacers are strong where the Celtics are thin. West and Hibbert are a formidable frontcourt duo with West averaging 17.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game and Hibbert adding 9.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Danny hinted that Doc may shake things up and return to the starting lineup that brought the Celtics success last season. We stand a better chance with Brandon on West and KG on Hibbert.
Rajon Rondo vs DJ Augustin
Rondo should have the upper hand in this matchup. Augustin averages 4.2 points, 2.6 assists and 1.0 rebounds. Rondo is still feeling the effects of the hip injury but hopefully he will be aggressive in this one.
Paul Pierce vs Paul George
Pierce's normal adversary, Danny Granger, is out with a knee injury but things don't get any easier for the Captain with Paul George in his place. George is playing very well and averaging 16.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Pierce will need to work on both ends of the court in this game. Keys to the GameDefense
- The Celtics have shown in spurts that they are still capable of playing tough defense but, often, as in the Grizzlies game, when they play good offense, their defense is terrible and when they play good defense, their offense disappears. They must find a way to play aggressive, in your face defense for 48 minutes. Until they do, the team will continue to struggle. Having Bradley back will help, but every player has to commit to playing tough team defense. Rebound
- Winning the rebounding battle prevents second chance points and tip ins for the Pacers as well as limits fast break opportunities. The Pacers are 5th in the league with 45.5 rpg. The Celtics must put out extra effort to keep the Pacers off the boards as they are very good at getting tip ins and 2nd chance points. Without a lot of height, the Celtics must gang rebound with everyone putting out extra effort. When the Celtics put out the effort on the boards, it often translates to other areas of the game as well. Ball Movement
- There have been times when the Celtics' ball movement is a joy to behold. Then there are other times when you just scratch your head and wonder what they are doing. They can't lapse into playing one on one and playing hero ball and expect to win the game. They also can't get sloppy and make unforced turnovers. They need to run more and try to get easy baskets instead of walking the ball up and letting the defense get set before they set up a shot.
- 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 out hustles them for the ball. They also have got to get into the paint more instead of settling for jumpers that aren't falling. X-Factors
The Celtics have lost 4 in a row and have struggled to find any consistency. They have to pull together as a team and find a way to fix the problems that have been plaguing them. It will take effort from every player on the team to fill their roles and bring out that pride in playing well as a team.