The Indiana Pacers (26-34) return to action after the NBA All-Star break when they host the Boston Celtics (42-17) on Thursday night.
Not only do the Pacers in general return to action, but the full roster is literally ready to return to action with no names on the injury report. The Celtics are in a similar situation after making it to the break with a hefty injury report, the C’s emerge from the break with just Danilo Gallinari unavailable, a player who has yet to play this season after knee surgery (pro tip: one L in Danilo, two Ls in Gallinari, you will never misspell his name).
The Celtics currently hold the best record in the NBA, this despite losing to the Pacers on Dec. 21 in the first of three matchups against the Pacers this season (Mar. 24 at Boston completes series). In that game, the C’s were relatively healthy, missing Marcus Smart but the Pacers made themselves feel right at home on the parquet at TD Garden with 42 first quarter points. Sure, they gave up 42 third quarter points to the C’s, but the good guys were able to hang on for a 117-112 win.
This was one of a few wins in December which raised eyebrows around the Fieldhouse, let alone the league, that maybe this Pacers team lead by Tyrese Halibuton was well ahead of schedule. Hali nuked the C’s for 33 points with eight assists in the win.
Yes, this seems like a year ago and now the Pacers, after free falling without the aforementioned All-Star, are back in a developmental stage heading into the final quarter of the season. UNLESS, they beat a healthy C’s team...
DraftKings Odds: Celtics -8, O/U 232 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner
Celtics: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams III
BOS: Danilo Gallinari - out (left knee ACL repair)
Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.