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Game Preview: Pacers vs Celtics


Matchup

After a grinding out a pair of road wins in New York and Chicago, the Indiana Pacers (6-3) return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday for a showdown with the Boston Celtics (6-2).

The Blue & Gold showed plenty of grit in Friday’s 107-105 victory over the Bulls, rallying from an 18-point deficit in the first half and then a seven-point hole in the fourth quarter. Much like their win over the Knicks on Wednesday, the Pacers made winning plays down the stretch.

On Friday, it was Victor Oladipo dishing to Darren Collison for the go-ahead jumper in the left corner with 18.5 seconds remaining, then Myles Turner coming up big on the defensive end, rejecting Antonio Blakeney at the buzzer to seal the win.

Turner had a breakthrough performance on both ends on Friday. Defensively, he was a force, swatting six shots on the night. But his play on the offensive end might have been more impressive. In easily his best offensive performance of the season, the 22-year-old center scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and didn’t miss inside the 3-point arc, executing the pick-and-pop to perfection.

While the Pacers can come away from their last two wins encouraged by their resilience, they know they face a much stiffer test on Saturday. While the Bulls and Knicks both appear bound for the lottery, Boston is considered by many to be the favorites in the East.

The Celtics started a little slow this year, splitting their first four games, but have reeled off four straight victories since, including knocking off the formerly 7-0 Bucks on Thursday night.

Boston has two returning All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and a 2017 All-Star in Gordon Hayward (back after missing all but one game last year with a broken leg), but their best player might well be second-year forward Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 16 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists this season.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG – Darren Collison, SG – Victor Oladipo, SF – Bojan Bogdanovic, PF – Thaddeus Young, C – Myles Turner
Celtics: PG – Kyrie Irving, SG – Jayson Tatum, SF – Gordon Hayward, PF – Semi Ojeleye, C – Al Horford

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Celtics: Jabari Bird – out (personal reasons), Jaylen Brown – questionable (sore right foot), Daniel Theis – out (right plantar fascia tear)

Coors Cold Hard Fact

The Indiana Pacers opened up Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the 1999-2000 season. The first regular season game played in the new arena happened on Nov. 6, 1999. The result was a 115-108 win over the Boston Celtics.

Last Meeting

March 11, 2018: The Pacers rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat the injury-riddled Celtics in Boston, 99-97. Myles Turner recorded the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds to play.

Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 27 points, while Turner recorded a double-double for Indiana, collecting 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 10 rebounds.

“He was really patient, he took his time, and was able to score that go-ahead basket,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said of Turner’s performance. “It just shows that he’s showing growth and he continues to show growth offensively with the ball, and rebounding the ball, and that’s what we want to see.”

Jaylen Brown (concussion) and All-Star center Al Horford (illness) did not play for Boston and All-NBA guard Kyrie Irving did not return after halftime due to a knee injury. Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in the loss.

Noteworthy

  • The Celtics have won their last three games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including a pair of wins last season.
  • Indiana’s last home win over Boston came on March 15, 2016.
  • Saturday will be the Pacers’ second time this season playing on the second night of a back-to-back. They picked up a 132-112 home win over Brooklyn on Oct. 20 after losing in Milwaukee the night before.

Tickets

The Pacers return home to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 3 to host Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics at 7:00 PM ET. Limited seats remain, so secure your seats today. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana/NBA TV – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

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