Indiana Pacers (15-16) at Boston Celtics (22-9) Game #32 12/21/22

The celts shelter the Indiana Pacers for the third game of their 7-game home stand. The Celtics come from 2 consecutive losses against the orlando magic in their first two games from the local grandstand. They will receive the Timberwolves, Bucks, Rockets and Clippers in the last 4 games of the local stand. This is the first of a 3-game road trip across the East for the Pacers.

The Celtics have fallen to second place in the East, a half game behind first place. milwaukee dollars. This sets up a great game between the top 2 teams in the East on Christmas Day. The Celtics are 11-4 at home and 5-5 in their last 10 games. They are 14-7 against teams from the Eastern Conference. They have lost their last 2 games and are just one of 3 teams yet to lose 3 in a row.

The Pacers are in ninth place in the East. They are 2.5 games out of sixth place and 7.5 games out of last place. They are 6-9 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. They have lost their last 2 games and have lost 4 of their last 5 games. They are 10-8 against other teams in the Eastern Conference.

This is the first of 3 games between these two teams. They will meet for the second time in Indiana on February 23. Their last meeting will be in Boston on March 24. The Celtics won the series 3-1 last season with their only loss coming at Indiana. The Celtics are 104-82 overall all-time against the Pacers and 59-26 in games played in Boston.

The Celtics are finally very close to a full recovery. Robert Williams returned to action for the Magic’s first game after the road trip. Jayson Tatum missed the Celtics game on Sunday for personal reasons, but he returned to practice Tuesday and is expected to play. However, Grant Williams is likely and Marcus Smart is questionable due to a non-covid related illness. Danilo Gallinari is out of it while he rehabilitates his torn ACL. For the Pacers, only Daniel Theis (knee) is out.

Possible Celtics starters

Celtics Reserves
Robert Williams III
malcolm brogdon
sam hauser
payton pritchard
luke kornett
Blake Griffin
justin jackson
noah von leh
grant williams

2 way players
JD Davison
Mfiondu Cabengele

Out/Injuries
Danilo Gallinari (ACL) out

Head coach (interim)
joe mazulla

Potential Pacers starters

Pacers Reserves
Goga Bitadze
Oshae Brisset
cris duarte
isaiah jackson
james johnson
Benedict Mathurin
T.J. McConnell
Aaron Nesmith
Terry Taylor

2 way players
kendall brown
The queen of travel

Out/Injuries
Daniel Theis (knee) out

Coach
rick carlisle

key pairings

Marcus Smart vs. Tyrese Haliburton
Haliburton is averaging 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He is shooting 41.8% from the field and 38.6% from beyond the arc. Haliburton has given the Celtics trouble in the past and is playing very well this season. The Celtics need to stick with him on defense to try to slow him down in this game.

Jaylen Brown vs. Buddy Hield
Hield is averaging 17.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He is shooting 44.2% from the field and 39.0% from beyond the arc. Hield is a good shooter and can score in bunches if he’s left open. The Celtics need to stick with him on defense to try to limit his scoring on this one.

Honorable Mention
Al Horford vs. Miles Turner
Despite being in the trade rumors every offseason and trade deadline, Turner is still with the Pacers and playing very well. He is averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.2 blocks per game. He is shooting 55.5% from the field and 43.0% from beyond the arc. The Celtics need to keep him on both the perimeter and the paint, since he can score from both. He’s also a rim protector, so the Celtics should try to get him away from the basket.

game keys
Defending – If the Celtics want to get back on track and win again, they must make defense a priority. Defense is always the key to winning games. The Celtics rank eighth in the league with a defensive rating of 110.6, but they haven’t played defense consistently. The Pacers are 21st with a defensive rating of 113.1. The Celtics need to defend the perimeter as the Pacers are fourth in the league with 40 3-pointers per game. (The Celtics are second at 41.9 per game.) The Celtics allowed the Magic to shoot 41.4% on 3-pointers and have to defend the perimeter better than that against the Pacers.

Rebound – The Celtics are 19th in the league, with 43.0 rebounds per game. It is important to bounce the ball to give yourself extra possessions and prevent the opponent from getting the same along with second chance points. Pacemakers earn 14.7 second chance points per game. Much of the rebounding is desire and effort, and the Celtics have to work harder on the boards if they want to get a win in this game.

stay focused – The lack of concentration can explain many of the problems of the Celtics when they have problems. They lose focus and spin the ball over and over during stretches of the game. They had 16 turnovers against the Magic on Sunday. They also lose focus and struggle to hit shots they normally would. After having the best offense in the league in November, they have one of the worst offenses in December. They also sometimes lose focus on defense and miss assignments and allow opponents wide shots on the perimeter and easy shots inside. The Celtics need to stay focused and take care of the ball, focus on taking and making good shots, and focus on playing tough team defense.

be aggressive – The Celtics have to go out and be aggressive from the beginning. They need to be aggressive on defense, push to the basket, especially if 3s don’t drop again, rebound, dive for fumbles, and just play harder in general. They need to get off to a good start and play hard until the end. They can’t let the Pacers get past them for any length of time, as they allowed the Magic to get past them.

X-factors
home game – The Celtics are at home for the third straight game. They have the home crowd behind them to give them extra motivation. The Pacers are on the road, where they haven’t played all that well this season, going 6-9 on the road, and where they face the distractions of travel, hotel stays and a hostile crowd. The Celtics need to take advantage of playing at home and defending their court.

officiating – Arbitration can always be an x ​​factor. Each referee team calls the game differently. Will the refs call it tight? Will they let them play? Will the Celtics spend more time complaining about fouls than shooting the ball? Will Jaylen Brown get more travel calls? Once again, the Celtics need to adjust to the way the team runs the game and not allow it to become a distraction for them. Above all, they cannot allow arbitration to make them lose their composure.

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