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Celtics and Pacers Square Off for the Rubber Match

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Boston Celtics (19-2) at Indiana Pacers (7-12)
Sunday, December 7
6:00 PM
Game #22, Road Game #9
TV: FSI, CSN HD, NBA LP 752
Conseco Fieldhouse

Game Thread l Chat

Pacers Coverage:: Indy Cornrows
The Celtics visit the Conseco Fieldhouse for the second time this season with the series tied at 1-1. The Celtics last visit to Indiana didn't end very will as they were soundly beaten 95-79 in Indiana's home opener. The Celtics returned the favor as they beat the Pacers 114-96 in their first visit to the Garden this season. The Celtics lead the series 75-69 overall.

The Pacers came into Boston on second of back to back games, having beat the Lakers on a last second tip in the night before. For this game, both teams were off the night before and will have no excuses as far as having played the night before.

It will be interesting to see how Big Baby and the bench respond in this one after being soundly chastised by KG in their last game for letting a lead slip away and thus calling for KG to be put back into the game to preserve the win. How they respond will tell a lot about the character of this team.


Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo PPG 10.4 RPG 4.80 APG 7.7 EFF + 18.19
vs
TJ Ford PPG 14.6 RPG 4.60 APG 5.4 EFF + 16.05

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen PPG 18.4 RPG 3.70 APG 2.7 EFF + 16.90
vs
Marquis Daniels PPG 15.4 RPG 5.70 APG 2.1 EFF + 14.00

Small Forward
Paul Pierce PPG 18.3 RPG 6.20 APG 3.3 EFF + 17.14
vs
Danny Granger PPG 23.3 RPG 4.90 APG 2.8 EFF + 19.78

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett PPG 16.4 RPG 8.90 APG 2.3 EFF + 20.85
vs
Troy Murphy PPG 11.2 RPG 10.90 APG 2.4 EFF + 17.89

Center
Kendrick Perkins PPG 7.8 RPG 8.10 APG 1.3 EFF + 13.57
vs
Rasho Nesterovic PPG 9.5 RPG 5.50 APG 3.1 EFF + 13.53

Injuries
Boston Celtics
Tony Allen (ankle) day to day

Indiana Pacers
Travis Diener (foot) day to day
Mike Dunleavy (knee) out


Matchups to Watch
vs
Paul Pierce PPG 18.3 RPG 6.20 APG 3.3 EFF + 17.14
Danny Granger PPG 23.3 RPG 4.90 APG 2.8 EFF + 19.78
This is a great matchup of two exciting wing players. Granger I am sure remembers losing his teeth in their first matchup. Pierce hasn't been putting up big numbers in their last few games but you have to think that if he is needed, his numbers will be there. His defense on Granger may be more important than the offensive numbers he puts up.

vs
Rajon Rondo PPG 10.4 RPG 4.80 APG 7.7 EFF + 18.19
TJ Ford PPG 14.6 RPG 4.60 APG 5.4 EFF + 16.05
TJ Ford is one of the very few point guards who may be even faster than Rajon Rondo. They have played each other fairly even in the past with Rondo coming out ahead in some games and TJ coming out ahead in some games. In their first matchup, was TJ's turn to lead as he finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals to just 2 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists for Rondo. In the last matchup, Rondo notched his first triple double and definitely got the best of this matchup up. With the way Rondo has been playing, you have to think that he has a good chance of coming out on top again. This is a fun matchup to watch.

Honorable Mention:
Kevin Garnett PPG 16.4 RPG 8.90 APG 2.3 EFF + 20.85
Troy Murphy PPG 11.2 RPG 10.90 APG 2.4 EFF + 17.89
Murphy is averaging a double double and had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Celtics last game against the Pacers. It will be especially important to keep him off the boards. After KG's outburst in the huddle in the Blazers game, I expect him to be pretty intense in this one.

Team Connections
Danny Granger and JR Giddens are both former New Mexico Lobos
Rasho Nesterovic and Kevin Garnett were teammates in Minnesota from 1998-2003
Jim O'Brien coached the Celtics from 2001-2004
Pacers assistant coaches Dick Harter, Lester Conner, and Frank Nogel were assistant coaches under O'Brien in Boston
Pacers President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird, won 3 championships with the Celtics and his #33 was retired on 2/4/93.


X-Factor
Home Team vs Road Team.
Both teams had the night before this game off. Both teams have won convincingly on their home court. The key will be how the Celtics play on the road. Have they gotten past their struggles on the road from the playoffs? The Pacers are 5-4 at home and the Celtics are 7-1 on the road with the single loss being in Indiana. It is another game where the Celtics will be thinking payback.