The Pacers are back on the road Friday night to face the Boston Celtics in a matchup that looks quite daunting on the surface.
And it looks even worse if you dig below the top layer of the matchup. Considering the Pacers aren’t nearly as motivated as the Celtics and continuing to scrounge up eight bodies to play and make games official, it is easy to see how the Blue and Gold find themselves as heavy (+14.5) underdogs in this one.
The Celtics have been playing at an elite level for the past couple of months, putting themselves in the race for the top spot in the East. Defense has been a key to the surge but the recent loss of Robert Williams III really hurts that end of the floor and could hamper their hopes to get the the Finals. However, the C’s still have Al Horford and Daniel Theis to play big with Tatum, Brown and Smart still making things run.
Simply put, Boston should be fine running out a patchwork front court against the patchwork Pacers. But hey, the Pacers did beat the C’s, 128-107 at the height of Boston’s surge so, you never know...
DraftKings Odds: Celtics -14.5, O/U 226 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 7:30 PM EST
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
TV: Bally Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Justin Anderson, Terry Taylor, Goga Bitadze
Celtics: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Al Horford
IND: Goga Bitadze - questionable (sore right foot), Oshae Brissett - questionable (sore lower back), Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore lower back), Isaiah Jackson - questionable (headache), Chris Duarte - out (sore left toe), 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)
BOS: Malik Fitts - out (G League assignment), Sam Hauser - out (G League assignment), Robert Williams III - out (torn left meniscus)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.