Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Celtics
Scott Agness | March 10, 2014
After a three-game road trip, the Pacers return home to welcome the Boston Celtics to town before playing three of their next four games away from Indy. It is their hope that being back in the friendly confines of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they’ve dropped just four games all year, will be just what they need to spark a positive streak.
The Pacers (46-17) have lost four straight games for the first time since March 2012. Since the All-Star break, Indiana is 6-5 and giving up over 100 points per game. Everything with this team starts on the defensive end, and they have been struggling there for the last month. Indiana’s points allowed per game average has jumped up to 92.2, now tied with Chicago for No. 1. The Pacers do, however, still have the best field goal percentage defense (41.9 percent).
There are a number of other factors contributing to the Pacers recent slide including poor starts to games, C.J. Watson’s injury, the implementation of a new player (Evan Turner) and multiple guys being in a rut. Watson is day-to-day with a sprained right elbow and Ian Mahinmi joined the injury list with a bruised left rib sustained during the road trip.
The Celtics (22-41), meanwhile, have followed up a five-game losing streak with wins in three of their past five games during a homestand, including two in a row over Brooklyn and Detroit. Rajon Rondo dished out a season-high 18 assists without one turnover in their win over Detroit, who had just 17 assists a team.
First-year head coach Brad Stevens, who directed Butler University to a 166-49 record from 2007-2013, will be making his second and final visit to Indianapolis with his team this year. As a Zionsville, Ind. native, he likes seeing the Pacers succeed, just not against him, of course.
These teams last squared off on the first of the month in Boston, where the Pacers prevailed by five points.
Pacers: C.J. Watson (out, sprained right elbow), Ian Mahinmi (out, bruised left rib)
Celtics: Vitor Faverani (out, torn left MCL), Avery Bradley (out, sore right ankle), Gerald Wallace (out, left knee and left ankle arthroscopies)
“Stay the course. We've got a good basketball team.” – Frank Vogel’s message to his team
- The Pacers have won all three games against the Celtics this season, with two victories of 15 or more points. A season sweep would be Indiana’s first in the series since the strike-shortened 1998-99 season.
- Frank Vogel worked for the Boston Celtics for seven seasons, first as a video coordinator under Rick Pitino (1997-2001), and then as an assistant under Jim O’Brien (2001-2004).
- Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty held the same position with the Pacers on Jim O’Brien’s staff during the 2010-11 season.
- Lance Stephenson has recorded two of his league-high four triple-doubles this season against the Celtics.
March 1: The Pacers held the Celtics to 19 fourth-quarter points to complete a comeback in their 102-97 win at TD Garden. They had to do it without starting point guard George Hill, who sat out after suffering a bruised left shoulder in a win over Milwaukee. Newly acquired forward Evan Turner ran the point in crunch time, and scored 10 of his 17 points over the final 12 minutes. Boston went cold late, hitting just 1-of-10 attempts over the final 5:53.
Paul George, who finished with 25 points, sealed the win with 1:25 remaining when he banged in a 3-pointer from the right side. It was a balanced attack for the Pacers as five others scored 12 or more points. Lance Stephenson added 16 points and Roy Hibbert had 15. Celtics forward Jeff Green led the way with 27 points and Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points, 11 assists and seven boards.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Only a limited number of seats remain for Tuesday's game. Find Tickets »