Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers
|Date & Time||Wednesday December 11, 2019, 7:00 PM (EST)|
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indiana -1; Total 209.5
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The red-hot Boston Celtics (17-5) will look for their fifth straight win when they travel to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Indiana Pacers (15-9) in a matchup of two probable Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Celtics hold the East’s second-best record while Indiana currently sits sixth in a matchup that could possibly be seen in the first round of the playoffs later in the year.
Boston started the season as the hottest team in basketball, racing out to a 10-1 record, but Boston lost Gordon Hayward to a broken hand and it went on the road for five straight games and for seven of nine games and the Celtics lost three of four games in the middle of November. But since a 103-102 win against Sacramento, Boston has won six of seven as well as taking its last four in a row against the likes of Miami and Denver.
Balanced scoring is Boston’s calling card, and that was evident in Monday’s 110-88 win over Cleveland. Kemba Walker scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field while going 5-of-9 from 3-point range. He also dished out seven assists. Jaylen Brown added 20 points shooting 9-of-15 from the field to go along with seven rebounds, while Jayson Tatum hit 4-of-6 long-range shots for 19 points and 11 rebounds. Hayward scored 14 points in his return to the court after injury, and Daniel Theis scored 10 with three blocked shots. The Celtics shot 57.7 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range as a team.
Walker and Tatum lead Boston on the season scoring 21.8 and 21.1 points per game respectively. Walker averages 5.1 assists per game while Tatum grabs 7.2 rebounds per game as well. Brown adds 20.0 points per game to create the lone triumvirate to average 20.0 points per game from the same team. The next closest team is the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams averaging more than 20.0 points per game, Montrezl Harrell scoring 19.1 per game, and Paul George averaging 23.4 points per game, but not yet qualifying to be placed on the NBA’s official stats yet. Hayward scores 18.3 points with 6.9 rebounds per game, and Marcus Smart adds 11.8 points per game.
Indiana finds itself among the elite of the Eastern Conference but hasn’t been anywhere near as consistent as the Celtics. But the Pacers have been better as of late, going 8-3 over their last 11 games after starting the year 7-6. But even with that better play, Indiana has won just three of its last six with a bad road loss to Detroit stuck in the middle there. The Pacers have shown the ability to win against the top-tier teams in the league with a 121-102 win over Utah, and they also have two wins over above-.500 Brooklyn.
Things didn’t go well for Indiana on Monday when it fell to the Clippers, 110-99. With the fans booing every time former Pacer Paul George touched the ball, Indiana allowed George to score 36 points while making seven 3-pointers in the game. Harrell had a big game off the bench, scoring 26 points with eight rebounds to account for 62 of the Clippers’ 110 points. Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana in scoring on Monday with 20 points and Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and a career-high 22 rebounds. Doug McDermott scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range off the bench, and T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb each scored 12 in the loss.
Brogdon is Indiana’s leading scorer on the season with 19.1 points to go along with 7.5 assists per game. Warren and Sabonis both average 18.4 points per game while Sabonis ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounds averaging 13.5 per game. Lamb scores 15.7 points per game and Myles Turner adds 10.9 per game.
Don’t be fooled by this spread. Boston is the best in the NBA against the spread at 14-6-2 this season. And while the Celtics are certainly a different team on the road than they are at home with a perfect 10-0 record at home while only being 7-5 on the road, Boston is still 7-4-1 against the spread away from TD Garden and an even better 4-1 against the spread as an underdog on the road. This is the exact position Boston thrives in against the spread, so don’t be fooled. Take Boston plus a point and enjoy the win.