Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics
Friday, January 4th at 8:00 PM EST at TD Garden
Game Preview: IND at BOS
by Scott Agness | January 2, 2013
After a four-game road trip which included three games (and losses) on the West Coast, the Celtics are back at home for their second straight game when the Pacers come to town on Friday night. The game was originally scheduled to be on national television until ESPN opted to air Chicago at Miami instead.
Beginning tonight in Boston, the Pacers face four playoff-caliber opponents in a row, which should provide a quality indication of where they stand.
The Celtics are 2-8 in their last ten games and have fallen behind Philadelphia—in addition to New York and Brooklyn—in the Atlantic Division standings. They are last in the NBA in rebounding, but fourth in assists because of Rajon Rondo, the league-leader in assists with almost 12 dishes per game—more than two assists per game more than Chris Paul. Rondo has recently missed time and been limited with a bruised hip, but he returned Wednesday. He will be a very tough cover for George Hill, who didn't play the last two games because of a strained right groin.
Two other matchups that’ll especially be fun to watch: the young Paul George against the crafty Paul Pierce and Mr. Clutch, David West, on the always-intense Kevin Garnett. George had an excellent December and is increasing his overall output per game while locking down on the defensive end. As for West, he’s willingly been the Pacers’ guy down the stretch in ball games and without him they’d likely have a .500 record.
Paul Pierce is averaging nearly 20 points and Kevin Garnett's is averaging about 15 points and seven rebounds per game. Avery Bradley, a defensive specimen, made his season debut Wednesday in a loss to Memphis after missing the first third of the season because of surgery on both of his shoulders.
Interior play is critical for the Celtics. They lack a true solid big man and are last in the league in rebounding, whereas Indiana ranks fifth. The Celtics are shooting 46 percent from the field this season, but that’ll be tested as the Pacers have the best field goal percentage defense in the league (41 percent).
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (game-time decision, strained right groin), Sam Young (out, sprained left ankle), George Hill (likely, strained right groin), Lance Stephenson (probable, strep throat)
Celtics: Chris Wilcox (out, sprained UCL/right thumb), Avery Bradley (day-to-day, shoulder surgeries)
"We've got to keep (Rajon) Rondo under control. If you limit him and his ability to get everybody else involved then you got a shot. You’ve got to score the ball against them. They are always a great defensive team." – Frank Vogel on playing the Celtics
"We've had this running battle to try get back to .500 after starting 1-6 on the road and it starts with playing in one of the most difficult buildings in the NBA in Boston.” – Frank Vogel
- The two teams split their four meetings last season, but the Celtics have won the last two.
- Pacers head coach Frank Vogel served on Jim O’Brien’s staff in Boston from 2001-04.
- Gerald Green was selected by the Celtics at No. 18 in 2005.
- Roy Hibbert was at Georgetown with Jeff Green from 2004-07, David West and Brandon Bass were teammates in New Orleans from 2005-07, and Ian Mahinmi and Jason Terry were together in Dallas from 2010-12.
- Courtney Lee attended Pike High School and won the Class 4A State Title in 2003.
- Leonardo Barbosa played 22 games with the Pacers last season.
The Pacers fell at home to the Celtics 86-72 in their previous meeting last season on April 7th. It was Indiana’s only loss in their first 12 games during the month of April. Stifling defense by the C’s held the Pacers to 35 percent shooting, including 5-for-22 from outside.
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points. David West had 16, going 8-for-10 from the floor and Roy Hibbert recorded a career-high (still to this day) 17 rebounds. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points, Kevin Garnett had 15 and Rajon Rondo only tallied four, but dished 12 dimes. The Celtics registered 27 assists on 32 field goals in the win.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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