Celtics take on the Pacers in Friday night NBA action
The Boston Celtics host the Indiana Pacers tonight for Friday night NBA action! The Celtics have dropped to 15-17 on the season and are in desperate need of a winning streak before the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Pacers are 15-15 and have gone 3-3 in their last six games. Can the Celtics get the home-court victory or will the Pacers break their .500 record tonight? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: BOS -3, IND +3
Money Line: IND (+130) | BOS (-150)
Tip-off: February 26th, 7:30 p.m. EST, TD Garden
The Pacers dropped their last game to the Golden State Warriors (111-107) on Wednesday night. As for injuries, Chris LeVert and T.J. Warren remain out. The last time these two teams clashed, the Boston team claimed the W with a 116-111 score. The lead scorers for that game were Jayson Tatum for the C’s and Victor Oladipo for the Pacers. Oladipo is now with the Houston Rockets.
Offensively, the Pacers rank 15th in total score, 10th in FG success, and 14th from the 3-pt range. With players like Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jeremy Lamb, the Pacers will need to put up at least 111 points for a chance to win tonight. Brogdon and Sabonis have been the Pacers lead scorers this season with an average of nearly 22 points per game. The big advantage is the Pacers 4th quarter game as they are 6th best in the NBA for points scored. Their opposition is one of the worst in 4th quarter scoring and it has cost them a multitude of games this season. Can the dynamic duo lift their Indiana squad to a W tonight?
Defensively, the Pacers will once again face Boston’s elite duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The key player that was not on the court for the aforementioned matchup was Kemba Walker. Though Walker has posted average numbers this season, he is a force to be reckoned with when he is dropping dimes for the C’s. The weak point for the Pacers defense is their defense against 3-pt shots (21st in the NBA).
The Celtics are in free fall mode right now as they have plummeted to 9th in the Eastern Conference standings. With struggles on offense and 4th quarter crashes, the C’s are in desperation mode tonight as they face the Pacers at the Garden.
Offensively, the Celtics dropped their last three games to the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Hawks. Head Coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of his team falling apart and as of right now dropping out of contention for a postseason run. Tonight is do or die for the Boston team and because of that, I believe we will see some dime-dropping performances by the big three of Tatum, Brown, and Walker. The advantage for the C’s is their 3pt shooting success as they are 13th in the league, while their opposition defends at 21st in the league.
Defensively, with Oladipo now on the Rockets, the big targets to defend for the C’s are Sabonis, Brogdon, and Lamb. Those three players have essentially carried the Pacers in recent games and have them positioned at 4th in the Eastern Conference standings. The biggest flaw of the Boston defense is their 4th quarter panic button. Tonight will be a testament if the C’s can prove they are still an elite squad in the NBA if they can put together 4 quarters of consistency.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
Despite the fact that these are two teams who have underperformed this season and are trending in two different directions, I’m going to say this game will be full of surprise performances. Both teams have victory on their mind but only one will reign supreme!
My first best bet is for Jaylen Brown to post OVER 23.5 points tonight. Brown averages 25.4 points per game and can be electric from the 3pt range up to the glass attack. Also, Brown finds himself at the free throw line at least 3-4 times per game.
My second best bet is for Domantas Sabonis to post OVER 5.5 assists tonight. Sabonis averages 5.7 assists per game and will look to connect with Brogdon and Lamb tonight for glass game points. Also, in his last matchup against the Celtics, Sabonis posted 8 assists.