Boston At Indiana
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Indiana Pacers are mired in their worst losing streak of the season and look to halt a four-game skid when they host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. Indiana’s losing streak is its worst since March of 2012 and the Pacers return home after losing by an average of 19.7 points on a three-game road trip against Charlotte, Houston and Dallas. Boston has won back-to-back games after posting a solid 118-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
The Celtics will clinch their first losing season since 2006-07 with their next defeat. The return of point guard Rajon Rondo from major knee surgery has provided a boost and Rondo had a season-best 18 assists and didn’t commit a turnover against the Pistons. Indiana allows only 92.2 points per game – tied with the Chicago Bulls for lowest in the NBA – but has suddenly sprung leaks on the defensive end and gave up an average of 108.7 during the road trip. The Pacers allowed more than 100 in each game of the trip and haven’t given up that many in four straight games since April of 2011.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE CELTICS (22-41): Rondo has been regaining his form and has reached double digits in assists in six of the past eight games. His wizardry was on full display against the Pistons as Boston had 38 assists on 47 baskets and committed just seven turnovers. The stellar ball-handling outing came one contest after the Celtics committed a season-worst 28 turnovers against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. “I made a conscious effort to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” Rondo said afterward. “Me being the point (guard) and having the ball so much in your hands the entire game, it starts with you.”
ABOUT THE PACERS (46-17): Indiana continues to hold a slim lead over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference and could quickly return to its winning ways as the contest against Boston begins a stretch of five games against losing squads – including two games against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers lost all three games on the road trip by double digits – including a 26-point beat down at the hands of the Houston Rockets – and coach Frank Vogel was trying to keep things in perspective after Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. “Stay the course,” Vogel said. “It’s a tough stretch of the schedule. We knew it was going to be tough.”
1. Indiana is 3-0 against the Celtics this season, including a 106-79 home victory on Dec. 22.
2. Pacers F Paul George scored 27 points against Dallas after averaging 7.5 points on 5-of-21 shooting over the previous two games.
3. Rondo moved into fifth place on Boston’s all-time career assists list with 4,101, passing Bill Russell (4,100).
PREDICTION: Pacers 97, Celtics 91
Stats and Records
Indiana Off vs
98.6 Points For
99.2 Points Against