Pacers vs Celtics

Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics

Monday, January 10, 2022 at 7:30 PM ET at TD Garden

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After the dynamic duo of Lance Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis stopped a six-game skid in front of a friendly crowd, the Pacers (15-25) are hitting the road for a game against the Boston Celtics (19-21). Monday's bout at TD Garden is the first of two consecutive matchups between the squads.

These games hold some value if the Blue & Gold wish to make a run for a playoff spot during the latter half of the season. Currently, the Celtics reside in the 10th, the final seed of the NBA Play-In Tournament — four games ahead of the Blue & Gold. Picking up two wins not only pushes Indiana up the standings but also ensures the Celtics cannot win the regular-season series outright — a statistic used for tiebreakers.

Of course, all eyes are on Stephenson and Sabonis to continue their tremendous play. Sabonis followed a triple-double performance against the Nets with a career scoring night on Saturday. The big man tallied 42 points on 18-of-22 shooting in a 125-113 win over Utah. He hit his first 10 shots of the game, missing for the first time late in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Stephenson is continuing his miraculous Pacers comeback. The Indianapolis favorite finished with 16 points and a career-high 14 assists. Ten of Stephenson's dishes were to his longtime friend, Sabonis. He has revitalized the squad and the city with a have-fun attitude, breathing life into a Blue & Gold season that desperately needs it.

However, the Celtics will not be an easy opponent for Indiana. Boasting a roster that is near full health, Boston has won three of its last five games, including a 99-75 beatdown of the New York Knicks Saturday. Starting guard Jaylen Brown notched his first career triple-double in the win and is one of two Celtics averaging over 20 points per game this year (24.1). The latter is two-time All-Star Jayson Tatum (25.5 points per game).

The Pacers saw the return of Chris Duarte against the Jazz but are still waiting for Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert. In the meantime, Keifer Sykes and Duane Washington Jr. have played tremendously. Sykes played well defensively and finished +12 against Utah, while Washington added a quiet 16 points and five assists. They may need to step up again Monday night if Indiana wants to pull out a much-needed victory on the road. The Blue & Gold are just 3-15 this year away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Keifer Sykes, SG - Duane Washington Jr., SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Celtics: PG - Marcus Smart, SG - Jaylen Brown, SF - Jayson Tatum, PF - Al Horford, C - Robert Williams III

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right Achilles), Torrey Craig - questionable (return to play reconditioning), Isaiah Jackson - questionable (return to play reconditioning), Justin Anderson - out (health and safety protocols),Goga Bitadze - out (health and safety protocols), Caris LeVert - out (health and safety protocols), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (health and safety protocols)

Celtics: Payton Pritchard - out (health and safety protocols), Brodric Thomas - out (lower back pain)

Last Meeting

Feb. 26, 2021: Despite limiting Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to just 24 total points, the Pacers fell victim to Kemba Walker. The guard dropped 32 points on 10-of-19 shooting, and Boston took home a 118-112 win at TD Garden.

Trailing 112-103, Indiana mounted a 6-0 run to close the gap to three with 1:23 left. With less than a minute remaining, Indiana had a chance to tie with a triple. However, Justin Holiday’s attempt rattled out of the rim at the last moment. Daniel Theis' triple on the opposite end fell through with 36.4 seconds remaining and sealed the Celtics win.

In all, five Pacers finished in double figures. Domantas Sabonis led the way with 24 points, and Justin Holiday added 19 — including five treys. Myles Turner tallied 17 and 10 boards, and Aaron Holiday recorded 15 off the bench. But it was not enough to get over the hump. Indiana was outscored in the paint, 48-32.

Noteworthy

  • The Blue & Gold have lost three straight road games to the Celtics, with their last win occurring on March 11, 2018.
  • This season, Indiana has won just three games away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse out of 18 opportunities.
  • Domantas Sabonis averaged 20.7 points per game against the Celtics last season (three games).

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
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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