Celtics visit Pacers looking for 3rd straight win

USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics visit the Pacers for their final meeting this season and hope to avoid being swept by the Pacers for the first time in 15 years.

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Boston Celtics (22-41) at Indiana Pacers (46-17)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #64, Road Game #31
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP 751(DTV)/751,753(xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, 1070 The Fan
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Referees: Bill Spooner, Marat Kogut, Sean Wright

The Celtics visit the Pacers for their final meeting this season and hope to avoid being swept by the Pacers for the first time in 15 years. The Pacers have won the first three meetings this season by an average of 16 points.

The Pacers are back at home after a winless road trip and are hoping to avoid their first 5 game losing streak since 2012. The Celtics are coming off one of their best games this season and are looking to win their 3rd straight game.

The Celtics are 8-22 on the road while the Pacers are an impressive 29-4 at home. The Pacers are 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Celtics won their last 2 games but have lost 4 straight on the road.

The Pacers are a tough team at home with just 4 losses there so far this season. The first game back after a road trip is always a tough one, however, and hopefully the Celtics can take advantage of that.

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
Kris Humphries vs Roy Hibbert


Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk

Injuries

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out


Pacers Reserves
Luis Scola
Evan Turner
Chris Copeland
LaVoy Allen
Andrew Bynum
Rasual Butler
Solomon Hill
Donald Sloan

Injuries

Ian Mahinmi (rib) day to day
CJ Watson (elbow) day to day

Key Matchups
vs
Jeff Green vs Paul George
Paul George is playing very well this season, averaging 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.76 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
Kris Humphries vs Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert is a nightmare for pretty much anyone to match up with and Kris Humphries will have a height disadvantage when guarding the 7'2" Hibbert who is averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.43 blocks per game.

Honorable Mention
Jerryd Bayless vs Lance Stephenson
Stephenson is averaging 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season. He had a triple double in the first two games against the Celtics this season and so Bayless is going to need to work on defense to contain Stephenson in this one.

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 against the Pacers tough defense.

Go to the Hoop - When the Celtics attack the basket, good things happen. When they lapse into shooting jumpers and stop trying to get the ball inside, they struggle. The Celtics have to try to get into the paint on every possession and either get a shot, a foul, or kick it out to the open man. Rondo's presence makes this much easier.

Be Aggressive - 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. This may be tough playing on the road, but they need to reach way down and somehow find a way to be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive going after loose balls, going to the hoop, playing defense, and moving the ball.

Rebound - The Pacers are a big team and so if the Celtics want to stay in this, they must crash the boards as a team. Every Celtic must make it his job to box out or to try to grab every rebound.

Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics need to keep their focus and play hard for 48 minutes. If they have a lapse and turn the ball over and lose focus, even for a little while, the Pacers will take advantage of it.

X-Factors
On the Road and Momentum
Can the Celtics keep their focus and play well on the road?
Can the Celtics build off of their big win over the Pistons and will the Pacers struggle in their first game back home after a winless road trip?


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