The best team in basketball come to the Garden tonight to take on our beloved Celtics in Boston’s fourteenth game of the season. The Pacers (10-1) currently have the best record in the NBA, tied with the Spurs, who just handed Boston a 104-93 beatdown. The Pacers have been riding Paul George’s hot streak of late, including his 35 point performance in their last win over the Knicks in overtime.
Indiana currently has the top defense in the league, allowing just 87.2 points per game. On the flip side of the spectrum, the Celtics have the fifth-worst offense in the NBA, scoring just 93.4 points per game. The C’s have received a substantial boost from Jared Sullinger of late, averaging 14.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game over the last four contests. But the young forward will have his hands full with the plethora of talented Indiana big men, headed by behemoth Roy Hibbert. Besides Hibbert are consistent forwards Luis Scola and David West. The trio is averaging over 30 points per game, over 18 rebounds per game, and over 6 blocks per game.
But even if Boston can find some magical way to slow down the Pacer frontcourt, they will find themselves stifled by Indiana’s dominating backcourt. The aforementioned George has been one of the best players in the league this year and is accompanied by Lance Stephenson. Stephenson has is second on the team in scoring and is averaging more than 5 rebounds and assists per game. The Pacers’ point guard is George Hill, who is shooting 43% from downtown thus far. There’s only one Avery Bradley to go around, so expect one of these guards to have a huge game.
On paper, this one’s no contest. But if we have learned anything from these young Celtics this year, it’s that they’re resilient. I certainly don’t expect the Celtics to come away with this win, but expect a defensive struggle before Indiana’s stars run away with this one.