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Celtics look for back to back wins as they host the Indiana Pacers

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The Celtics look to avenge their loss to the Pacers from a week ago and sweep their first back to back set of the season.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers (4-4) at Boston Celtics (3-3)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #7, Home Game #5
TV: CSNNE, FSI, NBA-LP 756(DTV)/ 754(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1070 The Fan
TD Garden

Referees: Courtney Kirkland, Derrick Collins, Kevin Scott

The Celtics face the first of 19 back to back sets in this game. Last season, they made their record in the second of back to back games a point of pride and they won the majority of those games. Hopefully that pride and drive to do well in back to back games will carry over to this season.

These two teams met a week ago on November 4 in the Celtics first road game. Indiana had led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but the Celtics slowly chipped away and took the lead at 62-61 in the third quarter. The Celtics ended up losing that game by 2 points on a pair of free throws before Avery Bradley missed a 3 pointer for the win.

In that game, Jordan Hill started at center with their usual starting center, Ian Mahinmi sitting out with a sore back. Hill played well with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is expected to come off the bench for this game with Mahinmi back in the starting lineup with the Pacers reporting no injuries.

For the Celtics, Marcus Smart is questionable with the toe injury that has kept him out of the last 3 games. Brad Stevens has said that he would like to have him available but as of now, his status is unknown. Avery Bradley sat out the second half of Tuesday's game vs the Bucks with a lower leg bruise. His status for this game is up in the air at this time as well.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

Isaiah Thomas vs George Hill

Shooting Guard

Avery Bradley vs Monta Ellis

Small Forward
Jae Crowder vs Paul George

Power Forward

Amir Johnson vs CJ Miles

Jared Sullinger vs Ian Mahinmi

Celtics Reserves
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
David Lee
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
Tyler Zeller
Kelly Olynyk

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Marcus Smart (toe) questionable
Avery Bradley (leg) questionable

Pacers Reserves
Lavoy Allen
Chase Budinger
Rakeem Christmas
Jordan Hill
Solomon Hill
Rodney Stuckey
Miles Turner
Shayne Whittington
Joe Young

Head Coach

Frank Vogel


Key Matchups
Jae Crowder vs Paul George
George is the star of this Pacers team and is playing the best of his career this season. He is averaging 23 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. The Pacers move him to power forward in small ball lineups and that causes mismatches for many teams. Jae will get the task of trying to keep him from having a big game at either the 3 or the 4. He led the Pacers in the first game between these two teams with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas vs George Hill
Hill has a height advantage over Isaiah Thomas, but then again, who doesn't? Hill is averaging 14.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. In the Pacers' last game, a win over the Magic, Hill had 23 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Isaiah will need to out-quick him in order to get the better of this matchup.

Keys to the Game
Focus on Offense - The Celtics biggest problem in their losses has been the inability of anyone to hit their shots on a regular basis. The Celtics finally seemed to get their offense on track in their win over the Wizards. After a rough start vs the Bucks, they once again found their way on offense. They need to keep their focus, move the ball, and find the open man on offense with everyone making their shots.

Rebound - Especially if either team is struggling to make shots, the Celtics must crash the boards. They can't score without the ball and it will take extra effort on their part to grab the rebounds. The Pacers are averaging just 42.5 rebounds per game compared to 45.2 rebounds per game for the Celtics. However, in their first meeting, the Pacers out-rebounded the Celtics. The Celtics have to crash the boards and not allow that to happen again.

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, crashing the boards, and just going all out on every play. They have to aggressively attack the basket. It will be most important to start the game with that aggressive attitude and then be aggressive through the whole game with no let up. The more aggressive team will usually get the benefit of the doubt from the refs as well.

Play Defense
- Defense wins games. The Celtics have to guard the perimeter as well as in the paint because the Pacers have players who can be dangerous from both. Indiana is holding opponents to 97.6 points and the Celtics must do better than that on the defensive end. With Marcus Smart not expected back until the end of the week and Avery Bradley questionable, others must step up to play tough defense.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics have been turning the ball over too much. They are averaging 16.7 turnovers per game and that is too many. In their last meeting, the Celtics turned the ball over 19 times to only 14 turnovers for the Pacers. The Celtics have to make careful passes and not give the Pacers extra possessions by making careless passes and turning the ball over.

Back to Back - While this might be a problem for some teams, last year, it was almost a sure win for these Celtics. Can they continue their strong play on the second night of back to back games this season?

Revenge Factor - The Celtics were edged out by 2 points in the last meeting between these two teams. The Celtics got off to a slow start in that game and they were on the road. Can they use the home court to their advantage and avenge their earlier loss?

Injuries - With Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart questionable for this game, it makes the chore of dealing with the Pacers' dangerous back court a bit more difficult. If either one of them can play, it becomes a bit easier.