After a very difficult three game road swing the Boston Celtics return to TD Garden tonight to face the number one team record wise (10-1) in the Eastern Conference, The Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are coming off a hard earned win in New York Wednesday after Paul George coolly hit three free throws late in regulation capping off a twelve point fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.
George finished with a season high 35 including 9 points in O.T.
He is, in fact, a big reason the Pacers were my preseason pick to win this season's title and is an incredibly difficult matchup at 6'8" averaging over 24 points and just under 7 boards a game.
As a team, G.M. Kevin Pritchard and head coach Frank Vogel have put together a really defensively tough and tight unit as demonstrated by this ESPN conversation conducted by Steven A. Smith a couple days ago.
The Celtics come into this game having lost five straight after falling to The Spurs on Wednesday despite a career night from Jared Sullinger.
Boston showed some real signs of life that night playing The Spurs tight in every quarter but the third.
The Celtics also did a lot of the little things right that are important to winning games hitting 11-12 free throws and for the most part keeping San Antonio off the offensive glass.
Things to watch for tonight:
- Indiana is the team leader in defensive field goal percentage limiting their opponents to a clip of 43 percent. Although, oppenents are shooting a respectable 37 perecent from deep.
- Obviously, a big reason Indiana has such a tough interior defense is the 7'2" Roy Hibbert who averages over 4 blocks a game and is very open about his aspirations to win this season's defensive player of the year award.
- That will be the matchup to watch tonight: Hibbert vs. Faverani. Faverani's been playing great but Hibbert is a throwback legitimate big man so it will be interesting to see Vitor's stat line at the end of the night.
My prediction: There's no place like home for Boston who will come out inspired but ultimately fall to the Pacers: Indiana 101 Boston 92.
Please leave your own thoughts and predictions on tonight's game in the comments below.
Follow Clint on Twitter @coolhandc
Clint Corey 11/22/2013 04:49:00 PM Tweet