Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Celtics


Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Celtics

SCOUTING THE PACERS: The Pacers (29-38) roll into Boston coming off of inspiring consecutive victories over the Knicks, a 13-point rout on Sunday in New York and a 119-117 nail-biter Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse. Danny Granger capped a 26-point night with the game-winning jumper with three-tenths of a second remaining while Tyler Hansbrough produced a career-high for the second straight game, following Sunday's 29-point outing with 30 on Tuesday. He hit 24-of-37 shots (65 percent) in the two games.
The Pacers, who had lost six straight prior to Sunday, are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East - one-half game ahead of Charlotte. Granger is 10-of-41 (24 percent) with 34 points in two previous losses to Boston this season. Hansbrough went scoreless in just more than 12 minutes in the first matchup, and did not play at all in the second.

SCOUTING THE CELTICS: Boston can reclaim a share of the East lead against the Pacers, a team the Celtics have beaten six straight times at home. The Celtics (47-18) have lost three of four overall to fall one-half game behind Chicago for the conference's No. 1 seed but are 20-0 at home against Eastern Conference opponents. Their 88-79 loss Monday in New Jersey marked the fourth time in five games they scored less than 90 points. Paul Pierce shot 2 for 10 and finished with seven points, dropping his average to 10.7 over his last three games. Rajon Rondo has totaled four points on 2-for-16 shooting in his last two games. Rondo tweaked his ankle in the first half against the Nets, but later returned and said the injury wasn't serious. Boston may get a minor boost against Indiana, as coach Doc Rivers said Delonte West is on track to return. The reserve guard has played in only eight games this season because of a broken wrist and, most recently, a sprained right ankle. The Celtics have won both meetings this season against the Pacers.

KEY MATCHUP: Coming off two of his best games of the season, totaling 40 points and 17 assists, Darren Collison must continue to push the tempo against Boston's Rondo, whose rare combination of size, quickness, strength and creativity give him the ability to dominate a game without scoring.

QUOTE MARKS: "We had a rough stretch that, we all understand that we went through a tough time. We're on our way back to being ourselves." -- Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. For the Celtics, Delonte West (sprained right ankle) is day-to-day, while Jermaine O'Neal (sore left knee), Shaquille O'Neal (sore right leg) and Von Wafter (strained right calf) are out.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 7. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Austin Croshere, with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.


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