Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
TD Garden- Boston, MA
7:30 PM ET Tip
The Indiana Pacers come in to tonights game having lost 3 in a row, and 4 of their last 5. It seems as if that is becoming a recurring theme as of late. They hold a 9-17 record, and their only statement victory on the year was in November in the game against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics on the other side of the coin have won 12 of their last 13, stand at 21-5, and are looking to plug it through this game so they can begin to prepare for the Orlando Magic. The team can by no means look past this game, however, as the Pacers always have a way of playing us tough.
For key matchups tonight I have Shelden Williams on Tyler Hansbrough and what is likey to be Ray Allen on Dahntay Jones. I think the Williams / Hansbrough matchup off the bench is key tonight because since the beginning of the season, Hansbrough has became more comfortable, and settled into his position on his team. He has increased playing time that has come with an increasing ppg. Shelden is going to have to ignore all the tricks this guy has to draw fouls, and stay on his feet. For the other matchup, Dahntay Jones rolled over Paul Pierce for 25 points the first time these two teams met. Tonight, with the lack of Danny Granger, Jones has been getting time at the shooting guard position. He doesn’t shoot threes, but surely Ray is going to have to do a better job of defense on him than was shown on November 14th.
From a team perspective, the Celtics simply need to play 4 tough quarters of basketball. They have by far much more talent than the Pacers. What has proven to kill them in the past is giving up offensive boards, and getting lazy not bringing the ball up the court in a hurry. If they do both of these things well tonight, it could look like the game against Minnesota. If not, it will look more like the Phili game.
The Celtics can not look past this game, and onto Christmas. This is a home game that they should win by a large margin. They need to use the 2 days off to start thinking about Orlando, and go out to do what needs to get done tonight. Lets hope they can go into Friday with all the momentum that can carry off from this game tonight.