After a clutch overtime win on Monday night, the Boston Celtics (20-21, 19-20-2 ATS) are set to take on the Indiana Pacers (15-26, 21-19-1 ATS) once again. This will be the second contest in a row between the two squads, but this time, they are in Indiana at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Boston Celtics are 2.5-point favorites:
- Point Spread: Boston Celtics -2.5
- Over-Under: 211 points
- Money line: Boston Celtics -135, Indiana Pacers +115
Payton Pritchard (health and safety protocols) has been upgraded to questionable for the game. He will be working his way back after protocols. Marcus Smart is listed as doubtful after he suffered a thigh injury last game. He exited the game in the third quarter and did not return.
TJ McConnell (wrist surgery) and TJ Warren (foot) are both out for the Pacers. In addition, they have a multitude of players listed as questionable – Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles soreness), Caris LeVert (conditioning), Chris Duarte (personal), and Goga Bitadze (conditioning).
G: Dennis Schroder
G: Jaylen Brown
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams
G: Malcolm Brodgon
G: Caris LeVert
F: Justin Holiday
F: Domantas Sabonis
C: Myles Turner
Boston Celtics Breakdown
While it was an “ugly win,” in the words of head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics got the victory regardless on Monday. They held a lead of 12 at one point, but inconsistent offense came into play once again. It took a monster shot from Jayson Tatum to send the game to overtime. However, Tatum was cold on the night, and it was actually Jaylen Brown who led the way. He led all players in scoring and was a force to be reckoned with.
Robert Williams also played particularly well. He was always under the basket cleaning up misses for a Celtics team that show below 40 percent from the field and below 30 percent from deep. Enes Freedom did a decent job of this as well in his limited minutes. But outside of the poor shooting, it was turnovers that killed the Celtics. They tallied 20 of them, all in regulation.
In regards to rotations, however, Udoka went with something different. With Smart sidelined, he closed with Tatum, Brown, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, and Josh Richardson. Both Dennis Schroder and Al Horford found themselves on the bench in crunchtime. Most likely, this was done in order to have more shooting on the floor at the end of the game. Although, Udoka credited Grant Williams’ solid defense and Richardson’s size as the main reasons.
Indiana Pacers Breakdown
After their loss to Boston, the Pacers have now lost eight of their last ten games. As the season progresses, they are projected to be one of the more active teams in trade talks. Earlier this season it was reported that that they are open to trading Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and LeVert. All three are expected to garner interest around the league.
Sabonis played super well last time out. Although he struggled to score the ball, he did everything else for Indiana. Sabonis put up 11 points, 22 rebounds, and 10 assists. His playmaking and rebounding helped the Pacers with an all-around performance that saw six players score in double figures. However, like the Celtics, Indiana also struggled to shoot efficiently. They shot 38.3 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from deep.
Cutting down on the turnovers would make Boston’s life a whole lot easier. 20 turnovers is a lot, and the fact that they all occurred in regulation speaks wonders. Most of them were a direct result of errant passes and poor decision-making, too. The Celtics just have to be a lot more careful with the basketball. If they can keep that number down around 12, they’ll be in much better shape.
Boston needs to do a better job of moving the ball, too. On Saturday night against the New York Knicks, Brown notched a triple-double and the ball movement looked great. Fast forward to Monday and the C’s only had 17 dimes. The offense went cold because they chose to prioritize isolation-heavy basketball – a common trend of the season. The Celtics are at their best when the ball is moving. So move the ball.
Finally, the Pacers have some key pieces who could potentially return tonight. LeVert and Brogdon are both huge parts of their rotation. If one or both of them are back, the Celtics are going to have to play a lot better than they did on Monday. They won’t be able to get away with the number of mistakes they made. LeVert is a crafty scorer and Brogdon runs Indiana’s offense to a tee.
Boston’s offense got sloppy once again in the latter stages of their game on Monday. That being said, they were still able to grind out the win regardless. It’s tough to tell which version of the Celtics will show up on a night-to-night basis, though. Expect a close game or a blowout. There’s rarely anything in between.
Boston Celtics 111, Indiana Pacers 106
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m. @ Gainbridge Fieldhouse
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston