at Indiana Pacers (27-13) at Boston Celtics (24-15)
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #40, Home Game #20
TV: NBCSB, FSInd, NBA-LP 751(DTV)/751(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1070 The Fan
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Darren Collison
Marcus Smart vs Victor OladipoSmall Forward
Jayson Tatum vs Bojan BogdanovicPower Forward
Marcus Morris vs Thaddeus YoungCenter
Al Horford vs Miles Turner Celtics Reserves
Robert Williams Injuries
Jabari Bird (personal) out
Aron Baynes (hand) outTwo Way Players
PJ DozierHead Coach
Brad StevensPacers Reserves
T. J. Leaf
Kyle O'QuinnTwo Way Players
Miles Turner (shoulder) out
Darren Collison questionable (sore right leg)
Nate McMillanGame Notes
Indiana Pacers come to Boston for the 2nd of 4 meetings between these two teams this season. The Pacers beat the Celtics 102-101 on November 3 in Indiana. In that game, Victor Oladipo hit a 3 pointer to put the Pacers up one and then stole the inbounds pass from Gordon Hayward to seal their win.
They will meet again in Boston on March 29 and finally in Indiana on April 5. They split the series 2-2 last season with each team winning a pair of games on the road. For the second game in a row, the Celtics are facing a team playing on the second night of back to back games. The Pacers are 5-1 on the second night of back to back games this season and 1-1 when the second game is on the road. The Celtics are playing on the front end of back to back games and will travel to take on the Heat on Thursday.
The Pacers are 3rd in the East, 2 games ahead of Boston and 2.5 games out of first place. The Celtics are 5th in the East, 4.5 games out of first and 1.5 games behind the 76ers. The Celtics are 14-5 at home while the Pacers are 12-8 on the road. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Pacers are 8-2 in their last 10.
The Celtics are finally getting healthy with Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris and Robert Williams all returning to action on Monday. Aron Baynes is still out with the hand injury but has made progress and could be back as soon as next week. Miles Turner missed Tuesday's game for the Pacers and is questionable for this game with a shoulder injury. Domantas Sabonis will likely start in his place if he is still out for this game. Key Matchups
Marcus Smart vs Victor Oladipo
This is a very key matchup as Oladipo is Indiana's top scorer and slowing him down will be very important. He is averaging 20.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.8 steals. He is shooting 43% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc. Slowing down Oladipo will go a long way toward getting a win over the Pacers. Marcus needs to lock in on defense to keep him from having a big game.
Jayson Tatum vs Bojan Bogdanovic
Bogdanovic is averaging 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He is shooting 45% from beyond the arc. Tatum needs to stay with him both in the paint and on the perimeter. Honorable Mention
Al Horford vs Domantas Sabonis
Miles Turner missed Tuesday's game with a shoulder injury and is listed as doubtful for this game. The Pacers will miss his rim protection if he misses this game. If Turner can't play, Domantas Sabonis will likely play here. He is averaging 14.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He is shooting 62.3% from the field off the bench.Keys to the Game Rebound
- The Celtics must box out and crash the boards. They can't score without the ball and it will take extra effort on their part to grab the rebounds. The Celtics must crash the boards as a team and beat the Pacers to the rebounds if they want a win in this one.
- I already mentioned that the Celtics must be aggressive on the boards, but they also must be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, and just all around going all out. They have to aggressively attack the basket. They need to start the game with that aggressive attitude and be aggressive through the whole game with no let up. They can't let the Pacers out work them.
- Defense wins games. The Pacers average 107.7 points per game while the Celtics average 111.8 points per game. The Pacers have a defensive rating of 102.9, good for 2nd in the league while the Celtics have a defensive rating of 104.1, 3rd in the league. If the Celtics want to get a win in this game, they must make playing tough defense a priority. Move the Ball Carefully
- Both teams depend on ball movement for their offense. The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man but they have to make careful passes and not get careless. The Pacers are 3rd in the league with 19.8 points off turnovers per game and so the Celtics must focus on making good passes and be aware of the Pacers ability to close out the passing lanes. If the Celtics get careless, the Pacers will make them pay. Play 48 Minutes
- We see it in every game, the Celtics either start strong and get a big lead and then let up or start slow and then have to play catch up the rest of the game. If they do either of those things in this game, Indiana will make them pay. They have to play hard for 48 minutes. Start strong and play hard all the way to the final buzzer. X-Factors Home Game
- The Celtics are playing in the final game of a 4 game home stand. They need to draw strength and motivation from the home crowd. The crowd will hopefully throw the Pacers off a bit and give the Celtics an advantage in their building. Back to Back
- The Pacers are playing on the second night of back to back games. They are coming off a win over Cleveland and had to travel overnight. The Pacers have played well in back to back games with a 5-1 record but hopefully fatigue will be a factor for them to give the Celtics an edge down the stretch.