Grinding: Boston Celtics @ Indiana Pacers preview

Indiana Pacers logo 2005–present

Well, it seems like I was on the money on the Philly game. Will the team be able to pull this W off a back-to-back road game? If anyone can, the C’s can. Grit and balls people, just grit and balls.

Stat check: The Pacers have lost only 3 of their last 10 games, all of them surprisingly at home, and 2 in OT.

Game time: 07 March 2013, 1100hrs AEDT

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo (ACL), Leandro Barbosa (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season.
  2. Danny Granger is out indefinitely with his sore knee.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: David West (17.7)
  2. Rebounds: Roy Hibbert (8.0)
  3. Assists: George Hill (4.9)

Keys to the game:

  1. Offensive execution: Indiana has been a top-tier defensive team this season, ranking 2nd in the league at holding opponents to 89.6 PPG. How we break their defense and find open shots is very important; expect a heavier load of Pierce and KG as the facilitators, and for everyone else to pull their load on hitting the shot. Unlikely as it is for Avery to pull a consecutive 20-point scoring night off, I’ll still like to see him try. Same goes for Jordan Crawford, he has to keep his mojo alive and keep trying to score – we are going to need every point he can muster.
  2. Playing with energy: Fatigue will undoubtedly set in on a back-to-back game, but the energy level has to be present. Rebound and defend hard, never give up on fast break opportunities, and do not surrender easy second chance points or 50/50 balls to the Pacers.
  3. Keep grinding: Have no doubt, this is going to be one hell of a gritty game. Indiana gets its wins through tough defense, the same way the C’s have been doing it in recent years. If we are to nab the win, it can only be by playing equally tough D, securing the rebound and getting stops.
  4. Stopping West: David West has been very good on the Pacers offense with an all-round game. Will Bass be able to stop him from scoring? I’d like to see how the team strategy is like on stifling him this game.

If we are to win, it will be a scrappy victory. I won’t be surprised if the game goes either way, but this will likely be a close one. Odds on C’s scratching a tough W out.

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