The Impossible Dream - Shorthanded Celtics look to beat Pacers for 2nd straight win

USA TODAY Sports

Shorthanded Celtics look to make it 2 wins in a row as they host the first place Pacers.

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at
Indiana Pacers (44-13) at Boston Celtics (20-39)
Saturday, March 1, 2014
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #60, Home Game #30
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP 756(DTV)/754,755(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1070 The Fan
TD Garden

Referees: Mike Callahan, Karl Lane, Michael Smith

Game Thread l Chat



The shorthanded Celtics host the first place Pacers in the second game of a 5 game home stand. The Celtics are coming off of a win over the Hawks that broke a 5 game losing streak. The Pacers have won 3 in a row. The Celtics are 12-17 at home while the Pacers are 16-10 on the road.

The Celtics are coming into this game with just 8 or 9 players available to play. Bradley, Wallace, Olynyk, Faverani and Bogans are out. Jared Sullinger will be a game time decision and should play if there isn't a setback after practicing on Friday. The Pacers are mostly healthy other than George Hill, who injured his shoulder in Thursday's game against the Bucks.

The Pacers have won their last 3 games, but they have looked beatable in their last eight games, seven of which were against teams below .500. They blew a 17-point first-half lead against the Bucks, who are in last place, on Thursday but they held on for a 101-96 win.

This is the 3rd of 4 games between these two teams this season. The Pacers won the first two games and they meet again on March 11 in Indiana.



Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Rajon Rondo vs George Hill

Shooting Guard
vs
Jerryd Bayless vs Lance Stephenson

Small Forward
vs
Jeff Green vs Paul George

Power Forward
vs
Brandon Bass vs David West

Center
vs
Jared Sullinger vs Roy Hibbert



Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Kris Humphries

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Jared Sullinger (head) day to day
Kelly Olynyk (toe) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out


Pacers Reserves
Luis Scola
Chris Copeland
Ian Mahinmi
CJ Watson
Rasual Butler
Solomon Hill
Donald Sloan
Lavoy Allen
Andrew Bynum
Evan Turner

Injuries

George Hill (shoulder) day to day

Key Matchups
vs
Jeff Green vs Paul George
Paul George is playing very well this season, averaging 22.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals. Jeff Green will need to work on the defensive end to try to contain him. It would be good for Jeff to have a big night offensively to make George work on the defensive end as well.

vs
Jerryd Bayless vs Lance Stephenson
Stephenson is averaging 14.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists this season. He had a triple double in both of the Pacers games vs the Celtics this season. Containing him will be important. Can Bayless have two big games in a row?

Keys to the Game
Run on Every Possession
- The only hope that the Celtics have of getting easy shots would be to run every time they have the ball. They can't win in a half court game with the Pacers. The Celtics have had 2 days off and don't have another game until Wednesday and so they can go all out.

Defense
- The Celtics have to clamp down on defense and get stops if they hope to beat the Pacers. They have to play team defense and defend the paint as well as the 3 point line.

Move the Ball and Find the Open Man - The Celtics play better when they move the ball and make the extra pass. When the guards over dribble and the ball sticks, they become very predictable and end up going into scoring droughts. The Celtics were without Rondo in the first two games vs the Pacers and having him back should help with this.

Energy and Focus
- The Celtics need to be the team that wants to win more. They have to attack and run and play with more energy than the Pacers if they want to win. The Pacers have struggled of late against sub .500 teams and so if the Celtics play with energy and keep their focus, they may be able to sneak past the Pacers.

Rebound
- Rebounding is key to getting a win because it gives the Celtics extra possessions while limiting the Pacers second chance points. Rebounding takes effort and desire and the Celtics need both to win this game.

X-Factors
Injuries and Underestimating

Can the Celtics overcome all the injuries that have hit them?
Will the Pacers underestimate the Celtics and give them an opening to get a win?

Coach Brad Stevens pre-game vs Pacers

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