Game Previews

Celtics-Pacers Preview: Hibbert’s Return Bad News for Surging Celtics

roy-hibbert

The Boston Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers at the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight at 7pm EST. Boston is coming off an amazing come from behind victory over the Magic on Friday, in which Evan Turner led the C’s with 30 points, 24 of which came in the 2nd Half.

The Celtics (28-36) and Pacers (30-34) have split two game thus far this season, with both teams now playing their best basketball of the year. The Pacers are riding a 7 game winning streak and currently sit as the 7th playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston has won their last three and are a game back from the Hornets for the 8th seed in the East.

Indiana will be without Paul George who suffered a broken leg with Team USA back in August. Boston will once again be without Isaiah Thomas who had given the Celtics a big offensive boost in his first games with the team. The Celtics however have proved that they can win without Thomas, winning their last two contests with him on the sidelines.

Roy Hibbert will likely play tonight for the Pacers, after missing Thursday’s game against the Bucks. Hibbert has dominated the Celtics thus far this season, averaging 20.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks. Boston will also have to look out for Rodney Stuckey, who backed up his 34-point performance on Tuesday with a team-high 25 points against the Bucks on Thursday. Look for Marcus Smart to stick with Stuckey and given Smart’s swarming defense of late, I’d expect Stuckey to slow down a bit.

For all you gamblers out there I always like to look at the trends and there are some trends pointing in both team’s favor tonight. Against the spread (ATS), the Celtics are 19-6-1 in their last 26 games playing on zero days rest and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall, an impressive number to say the least.

The Pacers on the other hand are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 home games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall.

Head to head, the Celtics are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall and the road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

The Pacers are favored by 8.5 in this one, which seems like a lot of points to be giving the surging Celtics. Despite Indiana’s solid record at home both ATS and without, I expect the Celtics to cover but close in a tough battle in Indiana.

Prediction: Pacers 97, Celtics 94

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Hunter Thomas
As a lifetime New England sports fan, Hunter was determined in October of 2005 to finally start using that passion and determination to create the site now known as Celtics 24/7. Formerly known as Celtics Pride, Celtics 24/7 has become one of the most well-respected and followed Celtics websites. Our motto “For Fans, By Fans” rings entirely true as we’ve built and grown a community of passionate and enthusiastic Celtics fans. It all starts with you–the fans, and I appreciate every single person who supports us on our journey to the top.
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