Preview: Celtics at Pacers
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[December 22, 2016]
The Boston Celtics followed up a
three-game slide with a three-game winning streak and will try to
make it four in a row when they close out a three-game road trip by
visiting the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Celtics erased a
17-point second-half deficit and earned a 112-109 victory in
overtime at Memphis on Tuesday to clinch a winning trip.
Boston All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas scored 24 of his
career-high 44 points in the final 17 minutes on Tuesday and went
10-of-16 from the floor and 17-of-17 from the free-throw line in the
win. "I wasn't trying to get 40, but I just knew I needed to be a
little more aggressive on that end," Thomas told reporters. "My
teammates found me and set screens and got me open, and I just made
shots." The Pacers are capable of making shots as well but struggle
with their consistency on the other end of the floor and missed out
on a three-game winning streak when they allowed the New York Knicks
to shoot 50 percent from the field in a 118-111 loss on Tuesday.
"it's frustrating," Indiana star forward Paul George told reporters.
"I don't even know what to say about it. We just can't get the job
done. We're an inconsistent team. That's all it is."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE CELTICS (16-12): Thomas sat out four games with a groin
strain and Boston dropped three of those four contests, only to go
on a winning streak as soon as he returned. Thomas is averaging 31
points on 54.9 percent shooting in the three games since his return
and scored 20 or more in each of his last 12 contests. "When you
give a guy with that kind of talent easy looks and opportunities and
they get hot, they'll have nights like this," Grizzlies point guard
Mike Conley told reporters of Thomas after Tuesday's contest.
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ABOUT THE PACERS (15-15): One player developing some consistency for
Indiana is point guard Jeff Teague, who collected 17 points and 11
assists on Tuesday for his third double-double in the last four
contests. The former Atlanta Hawks star is from Indianapolis and had
a difficult time adjusting to a new offense in his old hometown in
the first month of the season and did not record his first
double-double until Dec. 7. Teague's improved play is taking some of
the burden off George, who scored 20 or more points in eight of the
last 10 games but was 6-of-16 from the field en route to 16 points
1. Pacers G Rodney Stuckey (hamstring) missed the last four games
and is day-to-day.
2. Celtics SG Avery Bradley is shooting 52.7 percent from the field
in the last four contests.
3. Thomas scored 23 points in Boston's 105-99 win at Indiana on Nov.
PREDICTION: Pacers 103, Celtics 101
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