Pacers at Celtics

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Practice: Indiana Preparing for Final Stretch in Good Health

March 10, 2018 - Before traveling to Boston to face the Celtics, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and players Lance Stephenson and Thaddeus Young talked to the media about having a fully healthy roster for a difficult final stretch of games.

Pregame 180311

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Practice: Indiana Preparing for Final Stretch in Good Health

March 10, 2018 - Before traveling to Boston to face the Celtics, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and players Lance Stephenson and Thaddeus Young talked to the media about having a fully healthy roster for a difficult final stretch of games.
Mar 10, 2018  |  02:01

Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics

Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 7:30 PM ET at TD Garden
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Matchup

After a 2-1 homestand, the Pacers (38-28) hit the road for a difficult two-game trip against a pair of fellow Eastern Conference playoff teams. First, Indiana will visit Boston on Sunday for a showdown with the second-place Celtics (46-20).

After a 20-point home loss to Utah on Wednesday, the Blue & Gold bounced back in a big way on Friday, rolling to a 112-87 win over Atlanta.

Virtually everything went right for the Pacers against the Hawks. They led by as many as 31, knocked down 14 3-pointers, and had five different players score at least 17 points.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

The most important development on Friday was the play of Darren Collison. The Pacers' starting point guard had missed the past 11 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but returned to action against Atlanta and looked like he hadn't missed a beat.

Collison came off the bench for 20 minutes, scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with five assists and no turnovers. The Pacers' offense had struggled at times without the veteran, so his return should only continue to bolster their attack.

Sunday's game is the start of arguably the toughest stretch of the Pacers' schedule. Nine of Indiana's next 14 games are on the road and 12 of those contests are against teams with a winning record.

The Pacers' playoff position appears secure (their magic number is down to nine), but their seeding is far from determined. Indiana could end up anywhere from third to eighth in the Eastern Conference. If they want a top-four seed and homecourt advantage in the first round, the Blue & Gold will need a strong finish against strong opponents.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Cory Joseph, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Celtics: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Jaylen Brown, SF - Jayson Tatum, PF - Al Horford, C - Aron Baynes

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Celtics: Jaylen Brown - questionable (concussion protocol), Gordon Hayward - out (left ankle rehab)

Last Meeting

February 9, 2018: The Pacers survived a furious rally to hold off the Celtics in Boston, 97-91.

Indiana raced out to a 26-point lead over a Celtics team playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but Boston mounted a furious charge in the second half and actually took the lead on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter. The Pacers, however, closed the game with a 12-5 run to come away with the win.

"I think down the stretch we just did a great job of calming down, getting stops, and getting great looks on the offensive end," Pacers guard Victor Oladipo told FOX Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson after the win.

Oladipo led all scorers with 35 points on 15-of-29 shooting, 10 rebounds, and five steals. Myles Turner tallied 19 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, while Thaddeus Young recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 21 points and eight assists. Jaylen Brown added 16 points, while rookie forward Jayson Tatum had 15.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana will wear its Hickory uniforms for each of the next two road games.
  • With a steal on Sunday, Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo would extend his franchise-record streak of games with at least one steal to 50.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic has scored in double figures in 15 straight games, the longest streak of his career.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, March 15 to host DeMar DeRozan and the East-leading Toronto Raptors at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Away Game Night Special

Hickory Mini Basketball - $10. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM - Midnight. Order Online »