Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are clicking on their home floor and look to finish off a perfect stay at TD Garden when they host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Behind a balanced attack that resulted in a season-high 37 assists on 47 baskets, the Celtics coasted past Brooklyn 116-95 on Monday, improving to 3-0 on the homestand and winning their fifth in a row in Boston.
“It’s just moving the ball, moving the bodies, trying to create opportunities for one another,” guard Kyrie Irving told reporters after the Celtics posted their fourth consecutive game with at least 30 assists. “It’s good.” Irving returned from a two-game absence due to an eye injury to score 17 points and seven others finished in double figures for Boston, which improved to 16-7 against Eastern Conference opponents. One of those seven losses in conference play came at Indiana and the Pacers enter the rematch on a high note. Thaddeus Young scored 26 points to lead them past the Cleveland Cavaliers 123-115 on Tuesday, the seventh win in the last eight games for Indiana.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Indiana, NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE PACERS (27-13): Indiana was ahead 38-14 late in the first quarter at Cleveland and it had enough to hold off a late rally by the Cavaliers and improve to 13-8 on the road, but coach Nate McMillan was not pleased to see a massive lead dwindle down to single digits. “I thought we established ourselves defensively, offensively we had good ball movement. And then in the second half we just played the scoreboard,” he told reporters. “You don’t come with the same intensity, the same energy. We’re playing for something bigger. We’re working on us.” The Pacers finished with 34 assists — nine by Darren Collison — against just six turnovers.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (24-15): Boston has increased its single-game assist total in each of the last six contests and entered Tuesday’s play leading the East in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.03) as the group becomes more cohesive. “I think a part of learning to play together, that’s just something that’s going to come,” forward Marcus Morris told reporters. “But if the ball is moving, I think everyone is going to get enough opportunities to do what they do to make the defense collapse. We just find the right guy, get it to him. It’s easy basketball.” Guards Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier have combined for 34 assists against seven turnovers during the team’s three-game winning streak.
1. SG Victor Oladipo hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left and then made a steal on the Celtics’ final possession to lift the Pacers to a 102-101 win in the first meeting Nov. 3 in Indiana.
2. Smart is 9-for-16 from 3-point range over his last two contests.
3. Collison also had four steals with zero turnovers in Tuesday’s win.