Boston: 104.8 points/100 possessions (5th)
Indiana: 96.8 points/100 possessions (21st)
Boston: 101.1 points allowed/100 possessions (18th)
Indiana: 96.7 points allowed/100 possessions (7th)
Key Injuries: Boston: Mickael Pietrus (knee) is still out, probably until next week. Ray Allen appears to be back from his flu. Jermaine O’Neal is permanently day-to-day.
Indiana: Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough are day-to-day.
Probable Indiana Starters: Darren Collison (PG), Paul George (SG), Danny Granger (SF), David Moorer West (PF), Roy Denzil Hibbert (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Eight Points, Nine Seconds
The Pacers figured more prominently than any other team in the Celtics’ offseason activities, even though the two teams didn’t actually exchange any players. First the Pacers expressed interest in a three-team deal with Boston and the Hornets that would bring Chris Paul to Boston, send Rondo to the tenth circle of Indiana, and bring Darren Collison and a few other guys to New Orleans. Indiana getting involved got Danny Ainge all fired up, and he actively tried to push this deal forward. Feelings were hurt. Would have been much better if the Pacers had just stayed out of it and let an idle offer of Rondo, Jeff Green, and JaTwaun Bradley die on the first phone call.
Then, instead of just letting other teams handle their business, the Pacers jumped in and signed David West out from under the Celtics, just because they were willing to offer him a much better deal and more playing time. How annoying is that? This must be about retribution for the time Paul Pierce stole that water.
Now the Celtics face the Pacers with with the goal of drinking the cool, refreshing water that is a home victory from the plastic bottle of determination (strong metaphor).
The Celtics are catching the Pacers in a vulnerable spot: the guy who burns most of their usage (Granger) is playing horribly, and their new offensive weapon (West) appears to be still working his way back from mincing his ACL last season. Granger’s always been something of a double-edged sword for the Pacers; as a volume shooter, their success depends on him maintaining average efficiency levels, but lately he’s been taking shots from more valuable players on his own team. Also, aren’t all swords double-edged? Why do people say that?
The one guy who could bestow trouble on the Celtics is Roy Hibbert, who lately has been the team’s best scorer and rebounder at the Celtics’ weakest position. If Jermaine O’Neal can’t play, this game could be the first real test for Greg Stiemsma, the person who every Celtics storyline is somehow about now.
Celtics 97, Pacers 93