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Boston Looks To Avoid Holiday Hangover Against Pacers

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Boston Celtics (23-5, 10-4 road) @ Indiana Pacers (13-15, 8-7 home)
Time: 7:30 PM EST, Venue: Conesco Field House
Officials: Ed Malloy, Nick Buchert, Kane "O-Dog" Fitzgerald
TV: CSNNE, NBA-LP, Radio: WEEI
The Line: The Celtics are 1-0 against Indiana this season, and they were 2-1 against them last year.

GAME THREAD |
CHAT ROOM

Maybe you haven't heard, but typically the Celtics do not do well after Christmas. There are plenty of reasons for this, lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, but basically let's just all acknowledge that the best season the Celtics have had after Christmas was in 2007-2008, and that season they won the championship. Last season was the very worst the Celtics have played after Christmas, and they went to the finals. I guess a casual observer might guess that regular season performance does not matter as much as one might believe.
But we are not casual observers. We're fans, and we watch EVERYTHING. We start threads like this in our fan forums, and we discuss them relentlessly. And, while we know that winning every single regular season game is a fool's errand best left to the "Mavericks" of the league, championship teams do no drop 2 games straight if they can help it, and championship teams do no drop 2 games straight if the first game was a Christmas day spectacular against a hungry team that is as close to a rival as anyone the Celtics have in the East, while the second game is against the Indiana Pacers. If you lose the first game to the Magic, a champion comes back in the second game and absolutely humiliates the Pacers.
The Pacers on the other hand are a alleged "up and coming" team that has some very interesting pieces in Darren Collison, Danny Granger, and Roy Hibbert, but it lacks the cohesiveness to really be a threat to anyone in the East. As always, the Pacers are going to approach the game with a chip on their shoulder, while the Celtics, as in all games against sub .500 clubs, run the risk of coming out flat against what they see as lesser competition.

Probable Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics

.

Role Player MPG FG% 3p% FT% REB APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG

.

PG Nate Robinson 19.8 43% 38% 83% 1.7 2.5 0.32 0.11 1.25 2.3 8.3

.

SG Ray Allen 36.6 48% 42% 88% 3.4 3.4 1.04 0.07 1.43 1.5 16.9

.

SF Paul Pierce 35.4 49% 36% 87% 5.1 3.4 0.93 0.68 1.89 2.9 18.2

.

PF Kevin Garnett 32.4 55% 0% 85% 9.7 2.2 1.75 0.75 1.46 2.1 15.6

.

C Shaquille O'Neal 21.7 66% 0% 56% 6.2 0.7 0.47 0.79 1.47 3.5 10.8

.

6 Glen Davis 29.3 48% 20% 80% 5.8 1.1 0.86 0.46 1.21 3.1 12.1

.

7 Marquis Daniels 19.5 47% 25% 70% 2.4 1 0.89 0.5 0.75 1.4 5.2

.

8 Jermaine O'Neal 16.8 42% 0% 69% 3.4 0.4 0.13 1.25 1.13 3.1 5.1

.

9 Semih Erden 14 59% 0% 60% 2.5 0.5 0.21 0.58 0.83 2.5 4

.

10 Von Wafer 5.6 39% 25% 100% 0.3 0.3 0.09 0.09 0.32 0.5 1.7

Injuries And Stuff: Kendrick Perkins (OUT), Delonte West (OUT), Rajon Rondo (OUT)

Indiana Pacers

.

Role Player MPG FG% 3p% FT% REB APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG

.

PG Darren Collison 28.6 46% 34% 88% 2.9 4.1 1.04 0.08 2.24 1.3 13.1

.

SG Brandon Rush 30.1 46% 42% 73% 3.8 1.3 0.7 0.7 1.48 2.1 12.1

.

SF Danny Granger 37.1 42% 37% 86% 5.4 2.6 1.3 1.04 2.81 3 21.6

.

PF Josh McRoberts 22.1 48% 39% 69% 5.5 2.2 0.81 1 1.35 3 6.5

.

C Roy Hibbert 29.7 46% 0% 73% 8.3 2.7 0.36 1.96 2.21 3.1 14

.

6 Mike Dunleavy 30.4 45% 36% 76% 5.4 2.1 0.67 0.67 1.19 1.9 12.1

.

7 James Posey 20.1 36% 34% 80% 3.5 0.9 0.63 0.04 0.44 2.4 6.1

.

8 T.J. Ford 20.9 39% 23% 69% 2.3 3.9 0.82 0.29 1.75 1.7 6

.

9 Solomon Jones 14.7 49% 0% 65% 3 0.9 0.28 0.6 0.84 2.4 4.6

.

10 Tyler Hansbrough 13 46% 0% 78% 3.3 0.6 0.35 0.2 0.6 1.9

5.1

Injuries And Stuff: None

Match-Up Of The Night: Shaq/Jermaine on Roy Hibbert

Nobody cares about Josh McRoberts' sweatervests or the three Ritalin that Tyler Hansborough pops before every game. In the big picture here that, like the Indiana Pacers for the most part, is irrelevant.

Hibbert though, despite cooling somewhat from an early season spike, is still the Pacer's 2nd leading scorer.

With Dwight Howard being limited to just 6 points in the Christmas Day game against the Celtics, I feel like Shaq and Jermaine have a real opportunity to shut down Hibbert, and really force Indiana to work from the outside-in, meaning that they'll have to die (or I guess, live) by the jumpshot. Since nearly all of Indiana's players are conditioned for Obie ball anyways, taking Hibbert away would really limit the diversity of their offense.