The patchwork Pacers continue struggling to win games and more specifically, continue struggling to slow down opponents, regardless of how well their own offense is flowing. With Myles Turner unavailable to anchor the defense, the Pacers have been trying to win shootouts while mixing and matching new player combinations.
The injury situation has improved slightly but rookie Chris Duarte remains questionable and Lance Stephenson has also joined Duarte on the questionable list.
As for the Celtics, they are flat out rollin’ after an inconsistent start to the season. Active defense has given the C’s something to lean on and a couple of deadline deals fortified that mind set, not to mention the reserve rotation. Also, they have the rare NBA injury list that includes no consequential players. The results are just two losses in their last 15 games while moving into solid playoff position in the East, outside of the play-in range.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown remain the driving force behind Boston’s success and just so happen to be the type of players the Pacers have really struggled to deal with all season. The C’s do arrive on the second game of a back-to-back, so the Pacers have that going for them.
The Celtics swept the Pacers in back-to-back games in early January, but need OT to win in their last visit to the Fieldhouse.
DraftKings Odds: Celtics -9.5, O/U 226 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 5:00 p.m. ET
When: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Bally Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Malcolm Brogdon, Oshae Brissett, Isaiah Jackson
Celtics: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams
IND: Chris Duarte - questionable (sore left big toe), Lance Stephenson - questionable (sprained left ankle), T.J. McConnell - out (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio - out (torn left ACL), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.