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Boston Tries to Get Back On Pace Against Indiana

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Boston Celtics (8-2) @ Indiana Pacers(3-3) Game Preview

Saturday, November 14th, 7:00PM EST

Venue: Conseco Fieldhouse

TV: CSNHD, FOX MIDW Radio: WEEI

Game # 10, Away Game # 5

The Celtics are trying hard to forget their last game, while the Pacers are trying hard not to lose focus of what got them on their current three game win streak. Tonight ought to be tough for both teams, but for very different reasons. The Celtics are playing the second night of a back to back, with tonight's game being on the road. Last night the big three totaled almost 110 minutes between the three of them, and they still managed to lose by eleven points.

The Pacers on the other hand are streaking like Frank the Tank, but tonight will be the real test. The combined record of the Pacers' last three opponents (and only wins thus far) is 6-20, while the combined record of their first three opponents (and only three losses) is 20-7. Much like the Hawks saw their game against the Celtics as a measuring stick, the Pacers likely see the game much in the same light.

One thing that can be counted on however is that the Celtics do not like losing streaks. Of the 20 losses last season, only six were followed by another losing effort, making the Celtics' winning percentage after a loss a solid .700. The Pacers however have not won four games in a row since the 2007-2008 season, and Boston has won six of the last seven games against the Pacers.

The Pacers' biggest problem heading into tonight however has nothing to do with winning percentages or history. As of the writing of this article (2:00pm) the Pacers will likely be without three starters (TJ Ford, Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy), and one very key reserve player (Jeff Foster). In the Pacers' last game something called a "Solomon Jones" managed to log 20 mins between the 4 and 5. While the Celtics will limit their starters' playing time, they won't sit them all together.

Probable Lineups

Boston:

POSITION

PLAYER MPG PPG APG RPG
PG Rajon Rondo 32.6 10.3 9.2 3.7
SG Ray Allen 35.2 14.3 3.3 2.5
SF Paul Pierce 34.5 18.7 4.1 4.9
PF Kevin Garnett 30.2 13.5 7.5 2.4
C Kendrick Perkins 26.2 10.0 1.1 6.5
6 Rasheed Wallace 21.7 10.3 1.0 4.0
7 Marquis Daniels 21.3 6.6 2.7 2.0
8 Shelden Williams 15.9 6.3 .8 4.9
9 Eddie House 15.3 6.3 1.0 1.2
10 Lester Huson 5.5 1.8 .7 .2

Indiana:

POSITION PLAYER MPG PPG APG RPG
PG Earl Watson
28.0 9.3 2.3 3.2
SG Brandon Rush 25.8 6.8 1.7 4.2
SF Dahntay Jones 33.5 15.0 1.7 4.2
PF Danny Granger 37.3 24.2 2.2 6.7
C Roy Hibbert 26.2 11.8 2.2 10.2
6 Solomon Jones 20.3 4.8 1.2 5.5
7

Tyler Hansbrough

15.0 12.0 .5 6.5
8 Luther Head 18.4 6.6 2.0 1.2
9 AJ Price 6.8 2.5 .5 .3
10 Josh McRoberts 5.7 2.0 0 1.0

Injuries and Stuff:

Boston: OUT- Glen Davis, Tony Allen

Indiana: OUT-Murphy, Dunleavy QUESTIONABLE- TJ Ford, Jeff Foster

Major Matchup:

Paul Pierce vs Danny Granger

In any game involving the Pacers the biggest matchup will always revolve around Danny Granger. While other players can sometimes step up and play above their ability, Danny Granger is the only player on the team who always has the possibility of have an out of this world game. He's not quite a superstar yet, but he is on the cusp, much like the situation Joe Johnson was in 2 years ago (and kind of still is). Paul Pierce however has been a superstar in "the league" for some time, and he knows how to handle these up and comers. If Indiana is going to have a chance Danny Granger needs to hit around 40% of his 3's and shoot over 50% from the field.

Other Noteable Matchups:

Marquis Daniels vs Indiana

While there was not any real animosity on Daniels' side when he left the Pacers this summer, you get the feeling that players playing against their former teams always play like they have something to prove. If he gets 25 mins plus tonight (very likely with the minutes Ray Allen and Paul Pierce logged last night) and gets his game rolling, he could easily end up being our biggest weapon tonight.

Rajon Rondo vs TJ Ford

I can't find ANYWHERE that says for certain that TJ Ford is out for tonight's game. My guess is that he won't play, but if he does, it could be an issue. TJ Ford is the only guy out there that can "out Rondo" Rondo. If Ford has a decent game and Granger plays up to his ability, this could be a difficult matchup indeed for the Celtics.

Keys to the Game for the Good Guys:

1: Bench Play- I would be surprised if Garnett managed more than 22 mins tonight, and I think both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce will stay under 30 a piece. If Rasheed Wallece, Shelden "Hotdog Fingers" WIlliams, Marquis Daniels, and Eddie House can't get it done against the injury depeleted Pacers, we are in trouble.

2. Containing Granger- Danny Granger has shot a pretty poor 29% from behind the arc this season. If we keep him from getting into a groove, and limit him to 20 points or less tonight, this game will be considerably less stressful and could turn into a laugher.

3. We spit hot fire!- The Celitcs got EMBARASSED by the Hawks last night, and a lot of that had to do with lack of rebounding on the defensive end, and poor rotations on the offensive end. These are hustle plays. We need to come out with bellies full of bile and hearts full of fire. We've got to crap thunder and...well you get the point. We've got to come out like a team that wants to prove to themselves that they're better than they played last night. If we do that, the Hawks don't have a chance.

Bill Walker Watch: 1 game, 0 pts, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 earth shattering life changing dunks
Probability of significant playing time: 40%

-Pierce should have his minutes limited, and if we get ahead early the conditions will be perfect for a Walker heavy second half.