The Indiana Pacers will be coming into tonight's game fresh off their strongest overall performance this season, which ultimately resulted in the team's first win. The Pacers utilized a 22-0 run and a 35-17 scoring run overall in the second quarter to take the lead, 59-47, into the locker room at halftime.
The Pacers continued their strong push through the third and were able to hang to their lead despite a very sluggish performance in the fourth quarter, where they only managed nine points in the 12-minute frame.
The Pacers lost starting center Ian Mahinmi to a sore back during the first quarter, and he was not able to return to the game. Rodney Stuckey was the leading scorer for the Pacers, totaling 23 points off the bench. Paul George had yet another poor shooting performance from the field (7-24), but was able to manage 16 points on the evening.
The All-Star forward was able to make an impact in other areas as he has so far this season while struggling with his shooting stroke. George was able to pull in nine rebounds and dish out six assists, nearing triple-double status once again. Look for the MVP hopeful to have a breakout performance here in the near future.
George Hill leads all Pacers in scoring average so far this season, coming in at 17 points per game. As a team that is looking to play up-tempo, the Pacers are ranked 27th in the NBA, only averaging 93 points per game.
The Boston Celtics will be coming in tonight's game with a 1-2 record on the season and just like the Pacers, will be looking for their second win on the season. All three of Boston’s games have been played at home and were able to capitalize on an opening matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers for their one win.
The two losses stem from pretty stout competition, coming at the hands of the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics have given up an average of 101 points a game so far this season which may become an issue against a Pacers team that wants to run up and down the floor and score at will.
Luckily for the Celtics, the Pacers haven't quite mastered that skill yet. Boston certainly doesn't want to be the team that's the first on the list. Isaiah Thomas comes in averaging just over 22 points per game for the Celtics. One thing the Celtics do well is move the ball. They are ranked third in the NBA so far this season, averaging 25 assists per game as a team. With the Pacers defensive struggles early on this season, look for the Celtics to exploit the Pacers defense with their great ball movement.
Projected Starters: Boston - PG: Marcus Smart, SG: Avery Bradley, SF: Jae Crowder, PF: David Lee, C: Tyler Zeller. Pacers - PG: George Hill, SG: Monta Ellis, SF: C.J. Miles, PF: Paul George, C: Ian Mahinmi.
Boston opens up as two-point favorites for tonight's contest. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, IN.