Celtics Hoping to Get Back on Track as They Host Pacers

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Indiana Pacers (21-43) at Boston Celtics (40-23)
Friday, March 12
7:30 PM ET
Game #64, Home Game #31
TV: CSN-NE, FSI, NBA LP 754, 755
Referees: Bob Delaney, Derrick Collins, Mark Lindsay
TD Garden

For the third game in a row, the Celtics are facing a team that they should be able to beat. The Pacers have been struggling and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games although they are coming off a win over the Sixers on Tuesday night. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 and have lost 3 games after having won their previous 4.

This is a home game for the Celtics but unlike the past two seasons, home court isn't an advantage for them. They are just 18-12 at home this season and have played so poorly on their homecourt that the home fans have resorted to boos to show their displeasure. The Pacers have struggled on the road, though with a 7-27 record.

Although we shouldn't look past the Pacers, the Celtics face the Cavs on Sunday and it would be nice to right the ship somewhat with a dominant performance in this game before facing Cleveland on Sunday.

The Celtics had to be embarrassed by their lack of heart and any semblance of team play in their blowout loss to the Grizzlies and if they have any hopes of making it past the first round of the playoffs, they must start to get it together very quickly. This team has been together long enough that they know how to play together. It is a matter of whether they choose to put out the effort to do so.

Probable Starting Matchups
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Rajon Rondo vs TJ Ford

Shooting Guard
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Ray Allen vs Brandon Rush

Small Forward
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Paul Pierce vs Danny Granger

Power Forward
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Kevin Garnett vs Troy Murphy

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Kendrick Perkins vs Roy Hibbert

Key Matchups
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Paul Pierce vs Danny Granger
Danny Granger is a tough player who can hit from outside as well as take the ball to the basket. He always seems to play extra hard vs the Celtics since the time he lost a couple of teeth on the parquet. Paul Pierce needs to bring his defense as well as hit his shots to make Granger work on the defensive end. himself.

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Rajon Rondo vs TJ Ford
Rondo needs to make sure that the ball keeps moving on offense. Ford is a very quick PG and Rondo will need to be on his game in order to stay with him on defense and make him work on the offensive end.

Honorable Mention
Ray Allen vs Brandon Rush
The team needs to move the ball so that Ray can get involved in the offense. He has been the only starter in recent days who doesn't look like he is treading water on the court.

Keys to the Game
Defense - first, foremost and always
Rebound - The Celtics must put out more effort on rebounding the ball. They were out-rebounded by 19 vs the Grizzlies and that is unacceptable. When the Celtics want it bad enough they will show it in their rebounding numbers.
Play 48 Minutes The Celtics need to come out strong and not let up. They came out completely flat vs the Grizzlies and we saw actual effort for about 3 minutes in the entire game. They must realize by now that they can't coast against any teams in this league and have to put in the effort for 48 minutes.

If the Celtics have any heart at all left, they need to show it in this game.

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