Boston Celtics (32-27) at Indiana Pacers (38-22)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #60, Road Game #30
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP
Radio: WEEI, 1070 The Fan
Bankers Life FieldhouseProbable Starting Matchups PointGuard
Avery Bradley vs George Hill Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee vs Lance Stephenson Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Paul George Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs David WestCenter
Kevin Garnett vs Roy Hibbert Celtics Reserves
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Fab MeloPacers Reserves
Miles Plumlee Injured
The Celtics visit the Pacers for the second of 3 games this season. Boston beat Indiana 94-75 at the Garden back in January. The Celtics will face the Pacers one more time on April 16, one day before their regular season ends. This could be a playoff preview as if the playoffs began today, these two teams would square off in the first round.
The Pacers are playing very well and are in second place behind the Heat in the East. They are 7 games behind Miami for the top spot so there is probably little chance they will move up with the way Miami is playing. The Celtics are in 7th, 5.5 games behind the Pacers. Every game is important for the Celtics as they have a chance to move up to at least 4th. The Celtics are 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee, who are in 8th and 1 game behind the Hawks who are in 6th. They are also 1.5 games behind Chicago in 4th and Brooklyn in 5th.
The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10. The Pacers have won 2 in a row while the Celtics have won 3 straight. Both teams would like to continue their win streaks. The Celtics road record is 11-18 while the Pacers have been tough to beat at home with a 25-6 record there. Key Matchups
Brandon Bass vs David West
David West is playing very well for the Pacers, averaging 17.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. He is capable of having a big game if he is given an opening.
Kevin Garnett vs Roy Hibbert
The Pacers are very tough to beat when both West and Hibbert are playing well. KG has to try to neutralize Hibbert and keep him from scoring and rebounding at the rim. Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs Paul George
George is averaging 17.6 points per game and Pierce is going to need to slow him down. With Pierce putting in almost 30 minutes on Tuesday night vs the Sixers, we may see more Jeff Green on George if Pierce looks tired. Keys to the GameDefense
- Defense is always a priority. The Pacers are a tough defensive team, ranking 5th in FG% allowed (43.5%) and 6th in points allowed (94). The Celtics will not get easy scores against them and must match the Pacers' defense with tough defense of their own. 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 the best rebounding team in the league, averaging 45.7 per game so the Celtics must work hard if they are going to get boards in this game. So much of rebounding is effort and desire. The Celtics must play like they want it more and put out the effort to go get the rebounds. When the Celtics put out the effort on the boards, it often translates to other areas of the game as well. They can get rebounds when they really put out the effort but it takes every player crashing the boards after every shot. Ball Movement
- There have been times when the Celtics' ball movement is a joy to behold and others when they make sloppy passes and just can't seem to get anything going. They have to continue to move the ball and find the open man. But they also have to be careful with their passes. The Celtics beat the Sixers with 22 turnovers, but they can't turn it over that many times against the Pacers and expect to win.
- When the Celtics are aggressive in going to the basket, going after loose balls, pushing the ball up the court quickly, and going after rebounds, they are really tough. But when they are passive and settle for jumpers, let the other team beat them to loose balls, and rebounds, they are very beatable. They have to be aggressive for 48 minutes to beat the Pacers. X-Factors
Back to Back on the Road
The Celtics have yet again another back to back game against a top rival. They had just 1 game in the previous 7 games so they should have been rested going into Tuesday's game vs Philly. They have proved that they can win back to back on the road and so hopefully they come into this game with the focus and energy it will take to pull out a win.