Indiana at Boston
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Preview by The Sports Xchange) – The Boston Celtics made a big move toward solidifying the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference when they knocked off the third-place Washington Wizards on Monday. The Celtics will turn their sights toward chasing down the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers when they host the road-challenged Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas (knee) returned from a two-game absence on Monday and led the way with 25 points as the team pulled 2 1/2 games ahead of the Wizards in the standings, though the seeding isn’t the most important thing to everyone in the organization. “I think it’s about playing good basketball,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters before Monday’s game. “That stuff sorts itself out. Obviously, you want to be as good of a seed as you can. I think that there’s no question about that. But, again, I’d like to have some healthy games here to play some good basketball and see if we can figure ourselves out as we head into the next month-plus.” The Pacers are holding down the No. 6 spot in the East but are playing like two different team depending on the venue. Indiana alternated wins and losses in its last eight games – with each of the wins coming at home.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE PACERS (36-34): Indiana looked like a team that could do some damage in the playoffs in a 107-100 home win over the Utah Jazz on Monday, one day after a 116-91 loss at Toronto. “I think it’s obvious our guys feed off our crowd and our energy in our building,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan told reporters after Monday’s triumph. “I thought we played solid start to finish against a very good team. We talked about playing with a sense of urgency and we did tonight.” Indiana plays three straight at home after Boston before finishing with five of eight on the road.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (45-26): Boston is closing in on the first-place Cavaliers but will prioritize the health of Thomas and others down the stretch. Thomas was not 100 percent on Monday but wanted to play in an important game in terms of the standings and came away without any further issues physically. “I feel alright,” Thomas told reporters. “I just can’t push off with one leg. It’s kind of tough right now but I’ll get that back with reps. For the most part I felt good.”
1. Celtics C Kelly Olynyk grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench on Monday.
2. Pacers SF C.J. Miles went 3-of-3 from 3-point range after struggling to 7-of-28 from beyond the arc in the previous five contests.
3. Boston took each of the first two meetings this season – both in Indiana – by an average of 6.5 points.