Pacers at Celtics

Pacers Hoping to Create Separation in Jumbled Standings

Feb. 25, 2021 - Nate Bjorkgren, Justin Holiday, and Doug McDermott discuss what the team needs to do to build momentum heading into the All-Star break and why the standings are still so tight in the East.

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Pacers Hoping to Create Separation in Jumbled Standings

Feb. 25, 2021 - Nate Bjorkgren, Justin Holiday, and Doug McDermott discuss what the team needs to do to build momentum heading into the All-Star break and why the standings are still so tight in the East.
Feb 25, 2021  |  02:40

Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET at TD Garden

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After a tough loss to Golden State on Wednesday, the Pacers (15-15) are headed east to take on the slumping Boston Celtics (15-17) at TD Garden Friday night. The squads split their first two contests of the year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Celtics — losers of four straight and eight of 11 overall — are coming off a wire-to-wire, 127-112 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks. Boston allowed two 30-point scorers, Danilo Gallinari (38) and Trae Young (33). Gallinari made 10-of-12 3-point attempts, two more than the entire Celtics team. The recent slide has caused dissent among some of Boston's executives. Recently, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge appeared on a local radio station and stated, "our roster obviously is not good."

Nonetheless, Boston still has some frightening firepower on the offensive end. All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both averaging over 25 points per game. Brown is averaging 19.3 field goal attempts and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor. It's clear the Pacers will need to shore up its defense in the paint after allowing 66 points near the rim against Golden State.

The Blue & Gold will need to keep its focus on the glass as well. As a team, Boston averages the seventh-most offensive rebounds per game (11.0). Center Tristan Thompson averages the league's 11th-most offensive boards per contest (3.1).

Additionally, Indiana will be looking to rebound from a tough night beyond the arc against the Warriors. Despite getting several open looks, the squad hit just 7-of-29 (24.1 percent) from deep. Frequent sharpshooters Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday combined for just 4-of-13 3-point attempts.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Celtics: PG - Kemba Walker, SG - Jaylen Brown, SF - Jayson Tatum, PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Daniel Theis

Injury Report

Pacers: Brian Bowen II - out (G League two-way contract), Jalen Lecque - out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert - out (medical condition), Cassius Stanley - out (G League two-way contract), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Celtics: Romeo Langford – out (right wrist surgery rehab), Marcus Smart – out (left calf tear)

Last Meeting

Dec. 29, 2020: After Indiana dispatched the Celtics two days prior, Boston sought revenge. The visitors evaporated an 11-point Pacers lead early in the fourth quarter en route to snagging a 116-111 victory over the Blue & Gold.

Despite the loss, six Pacers players finished in double figures. Victor Oladipo led all Pacers with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting, six rebounds, and six assists. Malcolm Brogdon added 19 and dished out seven assists, while T.J. Warren followed with 17.

After falling behind early in the first, Indiana fought tooth-and-nail with Boston in the second. The Blue & Gold tied the game on five separate occasions, but could not attain the lead.

Then, Warren erupted for 15 points in the third quarter. Continuing its early-season dominance in the third quarter, Indiana outscored Boston 37-25 in the frame to take a confident 94-83 lead into the fourth.

However, the cushion quickly deflated as the Celtics scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter. Jayson Tatum's layup knotted the score less than three minutes into the final frame. His jumper with 7:29 remaining then pushed Boston into the lead.

A late 9-2 run gave the Pacers one final ounce of hope. Oladipo's layup with 1:01 remaining cut the deficit to just two. After a Boston timeout, Payton Pritchard airballed a 3-pointer, giving Indiana a chance to tie or take the lead. However, they never fired a shot, as Justin Holiday was pickpocketed from behind. Jaylen Brown finished an uncontested layup on the other end to essentially seal the deal.

Noteworthy

  • Boston has won 10 of the last 15 games with the Pacers dating back to the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season.
  • Indiana is seeking its first road win over the Celtics since Feb. 9, 2018.
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb and Celtics guard Kemba Walker both attended the University of Connecticut. They were also teammates on the Charlotte Hornets from 2015-2019.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all upcoming Pacers home games from January 24 through March 4 are now on sale. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
ESPN - Ryan Ruocco (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst), Cassidy Hubbarth (sideline reporter)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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