The Celtics will visit the Indiana Pacers tonight as they try to get to 13-4 without Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup. This is going to be their hardest test to date on the road against a Pacers team that is second in the Eastern Conference. They’ll need a repeat performance of what they did last night if they want to make it happen.
The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. They’ve got some large and athletic wings that eat up every single passing lane and they’ve got Roy Hibbert protecting the paint. David West is a great single cover and help defender, and they’ve got an ultra defensive bench as well.
On top of that, the Pacers have been dominating offensively lately as well. They rank top 15 in offensive efficiency in the last 10 games. Compared to their third to last actual offensive rating they have to be satisfied with that. The Pacers boast a league leading 15.1 net rating in their last 15 games. They only allow 92.5 points per 100 possessions in that stretch but they score 107.6 points per 100 as well.
Tonight, the Celtics won’t be facing just a great defense. They’ll have to worry about the Pacers offensively as well. This is going to be a tough challenge for them, but they have the ability to overcome it.
The game tips off at 7 p.m Eastern time. Danny Granger won’t be playing in tonight’s game. He’s resting his knee this week and will be re-evaluated next week to make sure that he’s ready for the postseason.
This matchup is a very interesting one. If the standings hold current until the end of the season, this will be a playoff matchup. The Celtics currently sit in the 7th seed position, while the Pacers are currently 2nd. Looking at the way the Celtics match up tonight could have plenty of significance as the season winds down to a close.