Watch It! - Pacers at Celtics
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers meet at 8 p.m. tonight at TD Garden.
Injuries, Injuries and More Injuries
It’s a tough week to be a Celtic.
Brad Stevens announced on Friday that another key member of his team has been added to the injury list. Gerald Wallace has a torn left meniscus and is out indefinitely. He joins other key rotational players Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk, along with backup big man Vitor Faverani. Jared Sullinger also remains as a question mark, as he was to have his concussion symptoms evaluated this morning following Friday’s practice.
Sullinger is expected to play but even his presence would leave the Celtics with just 10 available players. That includes Chris Babb, who was just signed to a 10-day contract Friday afternoon.
Boston will be very limited in its resources as it takes on the league’s best team. That’s not a fun predicament to be in.
Hibbert Could be Hungry
Roy Hibbert is a smart man. He can look up and down the Celtics' active roster and find not a single player who matches up with his 7-foot-2 frame.
Hibbert is a talented offensive player who has a soft touch on his jumper and can also operate on the post. He is currently shooting 46.3 percent from the floor this season. The big man is also averaging 7.6 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. He’s coming off of a 24-point, 12-rebound game against Milwaukee Thursday night.
Boston will have limited options to throw at Hibbert tonight. The list will be headlined by the likes of Sullinger (if he’s available), Kris Humphries and Joel Anthony. Hibbert is at least five inches taller than all of them.
Putting up Points
Boston is coming off of its top offensive performance since Nov. 11, as it piled up an impressive 115 points Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Prior to that game, the Celtics hadn’t broken the 100-point barrier since Feb. 10.
It’s good news that the Celtics found their offensive rhythm Wednesday night. The bad news is that they’ll be facing off against the Pacers tonight.
Indiana is the top team in the league when it comes to opponent scoring (91.1 PPG) and opponent field goal percentage (41.4 percent). The Pacers have also limited opponents to just 33.6 percent shooting from 3-point range, which ranks second in the league.
It’s going to be a struggle for the Celtics to put up points tonight. There’s no doubt about that. They will need their top offensive weapons to be plugged in and ready to go.
Green vs. George
One of the league’s top players will be in TD Garden tonight, and once again, he’ll be facing off with Jeff Green. Watching Paul George and Green go at it should be a fantastic show for the fans inside the arena.
Both players broke the 20-point barrier when they faced off back on Nov. 22. George scored a game-high 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting, while Green scored 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Boston would love to see Green score 20-plus points again tonight, but more importantly, it needs Green to bring his A-game on defense.
Bayless as a Starter
The numbers tell us that Jerryd Bayless is a much better player this season as a starter. He almost certainly will be Boston’s starting shooting guard tonight.
Bayless has averaged 12.5 PPG on 43.8 percent shooting in six games as a starter this season, as opposed to 8.0 PPG on 38.7 percent shooting in 46 games as a reserve. He’s coming off of a fantastic performance as a starter Wednesday night in which he scored a season-high 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting. He canned five of his eight 3-point attempts in that contest as well.
The guard has said all the right things since Wednesday’s breakout performance. He claims that he doesn’t care whether he starts or comes off of the bench. He’s almost guaranteed to be a starter tonight, and based on the numbers, that may be a good thing for the Celtics.