Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics: Predictions, Odds & Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics

Where: TD Garden in Boston, MA

When: Friday, March 29th at 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBATV, Fox Sports Indiana, and NBC Sports Boston | 1070 The Fan/107.5 FM and 98.5 The Sports Hub

Boston Celtics (Away)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 265-220 | BOS}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Kyrie Irving – (G) Marcus Smart – (F) Jayson Tatum – (F) Marcus Morris – (C) Al Horford

The Boston Celtics are currently fighting for the privilege of home court advantage in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. With a record of 44-31, the Celtics are just a game behind the Indiana Pacers for fourth in the East. Luckily for them, a win over the Pacers would bring them even.

The Boston Celtics have been trying to claw their way back to the top four of the East but have struggled to get over the hump due to inconsistent play and injuries. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and were without the likes of Kyrie Irving in their most recent match against the Cavaliers.

The Celtics will need all hands on deck when they face off against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are a strong defensive team who have been hot as of late from the field. While Boston has reinforced their line with the addition of Greg Monroe, they Celtics will need a consistent team contribution to take down an Indiana team who owns their desired slot in the East.

Indiana Pacers (Home)

Head Coach: Nate McMillan {All-Time 613-556 | SEA, POR, IND}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Darren Collison – (G) Wes Matthews – (F) Bojan Bogdanovic – (F) Thaddeus Young – (C) Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers own a dangerous position in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. They are currently ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference, with just a single game lead over the Boston Celtics. With a record of 45-30 the a loss would give the Celtics an advantage for fourth in the East due to an advantage in the season series, though there is still one more matchup in this series before the season is through.

The Pacers have been doing their best to hold on to a top four position in the East but have failed to follow-through. Over their last ten games the Pacers are 3-7, going winless in a recent four-game Western Conference road trip. The Pacers will not face another sub-.500 team until the final game of their season.

The Pacers must compete with a hungry Boston Celtics team that, at times, can be a high-powered offensive machine. While the Pacers defence is one of the best in the league, they will need to convert on offence as they have struggled to put the ball in the basket. They cannot afford to play one-way basketball against this talented Celtics team.

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers are two of the NBA’s most historic NBA franchises. In 175 regular season games, the Celtics lead the Pacers 96-79.

A win for the Pacers would give them a two game lead over the Boston Celtics.

A win for the Boston Celtics would give them fourth place in the East due to a 2-1 advantage in the season series.

Questions to answer

Do the Pacers need to win this series?

Is the clock ticking on the Celtics’ core?

We are going to compare the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Pacers Are Sliding

The Indiana Pacers have performed admirably since Victor Oladipo went down, but the limitations of their roster have begun to show. They still hold fourth place in the East, as well as home court advantage in the first round of the post season. However with the Celtics on their tail, the Pacers need to secure their top four seeding soon.

As Eastern Conference rivals, the Pacers and the Celtics will meet four times this season. So far the season series is set at 1-1, with this being a key meeting before a home match on April 5th. Considering the Pacers coming schedule, this game will likely determine their season.

The only team they face that will not be competing for playoff seeding for the remainder of the season are the Atlanta Hawks – who they won’t meet until their season finale. With such precarious seeding, the Pacers need to close out the season strong to win home court against a dangerous Celtics team. Without it, it may be a quick post season for the Pacers.

Patience Grows Thin In Boston

It is no secret that the Boston Celtics have not performed to expectation this season. After an inspired playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, the Celtics have struggled to inspire the same performance this season. Leadership, lineup, and coaching issues abound, it seems this is Boston’s last chance to show what they’re worth.

The Boston Celtics are filled with talent, that is certain. Critics around the league and media swear by their eventual playoff performance, despite their poor play during the season. They have the tools – every returning player makes the Celtics a dangerous prospect. When the lineup shortens and players are given more specific roles, will the Celtics succeed?

Perhaps things will all fall in line for the Boston Celtics. They are still a strong offensive and defensive team, but when they collapse they are a shell of their former selves. Unfortunately for the Celtics, that collapse has occurred all to often this season. The Pacers are a team motivated to prove they have surpassed the Celtics, even without Victor Oladipo. To take down the Pacers would be a huge step for the Celtics in reclaiming their worth.

Indiana Pacers Roster Notes

G Victor Oladipo – 28 Jan 2019 – Out For Season (Ruptured Right Quadricep Tendon) – The Pacers announced Oladipo had a successful surgery on Monday (Jan 28) to repair a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee and is expected to make a full recovery.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

F Robert Williams – 25 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Lower Back Contusion) – Williams has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 26) game.

Head-to-Head: Darren Collison (IND) vs Kyrie Irving (BOS)

Two point guards will clash when Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers face off against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. Collison is a solid defensive point guard and is excellent at the point of attack, but will have his hands full trying to contain the creativity of Kyrie Irving and his deadly handle.

Darren Collison

Point Guard | 6-0, 175lb (183cm, 79kg) | UCLA | Exp. 9 Years

11.2 PPG | 6.0 APG | 3.1 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .469 FG% | .415 3P%

Darren Collison has played only one game since his return from injury and it was in limited minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He didn’t quite look himself, going 3-10 from the field and 2-5 from three to the one of 8 points on the game. Russell Westbrook is a tough matchup to return to from injury, but he won’t get a break against Kyrie Irving. While his defence is always solid, the Pacers can’t afford a cold night from their lead guard.

Kyrie Irving

Point Guard | 6-3, 193lb (190cm, 87kg) | Duke | Exp. 7 Years

23.8 PPG | 7.1 APG | 5.1 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.6 TOV | .490 FG% | .398 3P%

Kyrie Irving will be returning from a load management night to a difficult match against the Indiana Pacers. In his most recent game, Irving looked fatigued. He was 5-17 from the field and posted only 11 points despite a strong night distributing the ball (12 assists). The Pacers defence is so strong that the Celtics will need Irving to take on the brunt of the scoring load. There’s no breaks on any switch, so Irving will need to pull out all of his skills on this night.

Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Indiana Pacers by 6.5, with an over/under of 110.

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