Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics
7:30 PM ET, January 6, 2012
TD Garden, Boston, MA
This game will have a slight twist to it, given the fact that highly coveted free agent David West, who was highly pursued by the Celtics, decided to sign with the Pacers. This will all hit home Friday night in the Garden. In retrospect, it was probably for the best, given the recent surgery on his knees. We all know Boston has too many injuries to go shopping for more. West has averaged 12.3 points a game and 8 rebounds, but newcomer Brandon Bass will remind the Celtics once again why they wanted him first.
The Indiana Pacers are off to a great start this season having won 4 out of their first 5 games, with that one loss coming New Years Eve against the Detroit Pistons. Remarkably, the Pacers rank 2nd overall in defense keeping their opponents under 88 points a game. Tied with Chicago for first place in their division, the Pacers look to extend their good start with a big win on the road in Boston. Danny Granger leads the Pacers in scoring with 17.5 points a game while the big man, Roy Hibbert, is bringing down nearly 11 rebounds a game. Indiana confirmed that center, Jeff Foster, who is in his 12th season, is currently addressing a back problem that has him listed as day-to-day.
The Boston Celtics have turned the page on their 0 – 3 season start to now 3 – 3, not only winning their last 3 games but not allowing their rival to score more than 92 points. After everyone criticized them for not showing up on the defensive, it seems like they took it to heart and showed everyone why they are the masters of the D. Pulling off back to back wins over the Wizards, the Celtics are going to get at least two days of down time before their next outing. Ray Allen has lit it up early this season connecting on 55% of his 3 pointers, hitting six Monday night against Washington with his mom in the crowd.
Thanks to Rajon Rondo’s efforts, the Celtics are ranked 4th overall in the assists category, helping his teammates not only score more, but look great scoring. Given the fact that the Pacers have a great defense, playing in the Garden is different. Playing in Madison Square Garden, there is more pressure. The big three just have too much experience and know how to get by, and will take advantage of all the bodies they have. Key point for the Pacers will be not to turn the ball over and also protect the post player, double team them as much as possible, without giving away the open shot. I like Boston to keep its winning streak alive and stay perfect at home.