Pacers vs Celtics

Game Preview: Pacers vs Celtics

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Pacers (15-26) are wrapping up a home-and-home set of contests against the Boston Celtics (20-21) on Wednesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The Blue & Gold will have their thoughts on revenge after falling in overtime to the Celtics at TD Garden Monday night.

Monday's contest produced a defensive slugfest, as each squad connected on fewer than 40 percent of its shots. However, Boston relied on its two most-reliable scorers to come away victorious.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 50 of the Celtics' 101 points Monday. Brown seemed solid most of the night, while Tatum dropped a clutch baseline jumper with 1.8 seconds left to force the extra frame.

On a bright note, Keifer Sykes and Duane Washington Jr. did an excellent job containing Tatum in the backcourt. The two-time All-Star finished 7-of-21 from the field and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. Additionally, Sykes and Washington forced Tatum to commit a game-high eight turnovers. As a whole, Boston tallied 20 turnovers in the contest. It was the second time all season the Pacers forced 20 or more turnovers in a game. The Miami Heat committed 22 against the Pacers in the third game of the regular season.

Torrey Craig often had the responsibility of guarding Brown. While the talented forward finished with 26, he made just 11 of his 26 attempts. Much of his errant shooting can be attributed to Craig and his penchant for physical defense.

Craig also provided the offensive spark on offense, tallying a team-high 19 points. The veteran played a part in outscoring the Celtics' bench, 50-23. Jeremy Lamb and Lance Stephenson also finished in double figures off the bench for Indiana.

Despite questions still rising from the injury report, these stats insinuate another close battle could be imminent in the rematch. The Pacers also hold a positive record this season when playing at home (12-10). Indiana appears to be in good shape to even up the season series. Not to mention, fans could see the "Lance Stephenson effect" in full force as well.

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: Goga Bitadze - questionable (return to competition reconditioning), Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right Achilles), Chris Duarte - questionable (personal reasons), Caris LeVert - questionable ((return to competition reconditioning), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (health and safety protocols)

Celtics: Payton Pritchard - questionable (health and safety protocols), Marcus Smart - doubtful (right thigh contusion)

Last Meeting

Jan. 10, 2022: The Pacers traveled to TD Garden for the first leg of their home-and-home set with the Celtics on Monday night. After a defensive slugfest, Boston nudged Indiana, 101-98 in overtime to take home the victory. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum did most of the damage, tallying 50 total points.

In all, six Pacers finished in double figures. Yet, it was an off-shooting night for the squad. Domantas Sabonis provided the stat of the night, tallying 11 points, 23 rebounds, and 10 assists for his second triple-double in January. Since the NBA/ABA merger, he is the only player to post two triple-doubles with 23 or more rebounds. Torrey Craig added a game-high 19 off the bench for the Pacers.

Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, the Pacers totaled 61 points at the end of the first half. Against the Celtics, Indiana had 60 after three quarters. However, the squad's defense kept them in it all night and trailed by eight entering the fourth.

Craig tallied 10 of the Pacers' 29 fourth-quarter points to lead the way. They were clutch over the final four minutes. That is until Tatum got the rock with 1.8 seconds to go.

The elite guard dropped in a baseline bucket with a defender in his face, forcing the extra period. After the teams traded baskets, Boston notched five unanswered. That spurt was all they needed to stay in front for the remainder of the game.

Indiana dropped its 16th road game this season. They have lost 12 games by four points or fewer.

Noteworthy

  • Tuesday afternoon, the Pacers announced Lance Stephenson signed a second 10-day contract under the NBA's COVID-related hardship exemption. He will remain with the team until at least Jan. 20.
  • A Pacers win would even the regular-season series at 1-1 — a metric used to tiebreakers at the end of the season to determine placement in the standings.
  • Playing in place of Malcolm Brogdon, Keifer Sykes has tallied double figures in four of his last five outings. He recorded 11 against the Celtics on Monday.

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 (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst) Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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