Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
The Boston Celtics (41-39) are hosting the Indiana Pacers (49-31) in a nationally televised contest at the tail end of the 2012-13 campaign.
With both teams locked into their respective playoff seeding, there’s a good chance that a number of top players wind up on the sideline for this one.
However, it’s still an important game, as each side could use a momentum boost heading into the postseason. Boston is just .500 over its last 10 games, while the Pacers are 6-4 in the same span.
Let’s take a look at where you can catch the action, highlight some players to watch, predict the final score and much more in our preview.
UPDATE: Monday, April 15 at, 8:50 p.m. EDT by Justin Onslow
Tuesday's contest between the Pacers and Celtics has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, as reported by ESPN's Ian Begley.
NBA announces it has cancelled Tuesday's Celtics-Pacers game in light of tragedy in Boston. It will not be rescheduled.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 16, 2013
---End of update---
Pacers Injury Report (via USA Today)
G George Hill, Doubtful, Rest
F Paul George, Doubtful, Rest
F Danny Granger, Out, Knee
Celtics Injury Report (via USA Today)
G Jason Terry, Out, Coach’s Decision
F Jared Sullinger, Out, Back
G Rajon Rondo, Out, Knee
Pacers Player to Watch: Lance Stephenson
The Pacers have been struggling to generate offense recently, but Stephenson has not been a cause for concern.
This Cincinnati product scored his season high on Sunday, dropping 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting (4-of-9 from three-point land). Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to help Indiana get past the New York Knicks.
He has been a key contributor as of late and will need to keep up this production heading into the playoffs. As long as there is a second wing player that can keep some of the pressure off Paul George, the Pacers will be in good shape for their Round 1 matchup.
Celtics Player to Watch: Jeff Green
Celtics fans should be excited about Green’s play this season, as the young star is looking like a player that the franchise can build around in the future.
He’s going to get a chance to cut his teeth against the New York Knicks in a best-of-seven series shortly, so he’ll need to use this matchup to polish up.
The forward has had some rough shooting outings lately, including a 6-of-17 showing against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. He’s going to need to become more efficient if the Celtics are going to advance as a No. 7 seed this spring.
Which team will win?
This should be an exciting, back-and-forth contest between two Eastern Conference stalwarts. However, we’re giving the edge to the home team here, as the Celtics look to tune up before the postseason.
Indiana will be missing critical players in George Hill and Paul George, making it even tougher to overcome the opposition—that is assuming Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are out on the court.
It’ll be quite interesting to tune in and see who winds up logging major minutes in this “meaningless” game, as the coaches from each side need to prevent their stars from injury while keeping them loose for the playoffs.
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