|-3 BOS (-106) @ pinnacle|
My 9* Situational Stunner is on the Bos Celtics at 7:35 ET.
The Boston Celtics opened the season as one of the Eastern Conference favorites but after an 8-3 start, the Celtics have looked nothing even remotely like a contender. Boston is with four games remaining before the All-Star break, after losing EIGHT of 11 (including THREE in a row). Boston and Miami (East champs last season) are both 15-17, meaning they would meet in a 9 vs 10 Play-In game (how the mighty have fallen). The Pacers visit Boston off a 111-107 home OT loss to the Warriors, returning to the court on Wednesday after time off due to games against Houston (weather-related) and San Antonio (COVID-related) being postponed (had six days off). The Pacers have hovered around .500 all season and although they are currently 15-15, their record is good enough for the East's No. 4 seed.
PG Brogdon (21.7-4.8-6.4) and PF Sabonis (21.5 & 11.7) are having excellent seasons, while center Turner (13.2 & 6.6), SF McDermott (13.1 PPG on 50.9% shooting) and guard Justin Holiday (11.3 & 4.2) round out the current starting-five. T.J. Warren (foot surgery) and Caris LeVert (kidney operation) remain sidelined. Backup PG McConnell (5.9 & 6.6 APG) plus SG Lamb are also quality contributors. Lamb's return from injury is a BIG deal. He has averaged 12.2 PPG (on 50.7% shooting) in his 17 games back since tearing his ACL last February. Jayson Tatum (25.6-6.9-4.5) and Jaylen Brown (25.4-5.5-3.9) are both All Stars and while a knee injury has limited PG Walker to just 17 games, he's still averaging 17.3-3.6-4.1). Losing Marcus Smart (13.1 & 6.1 APG) has hurt but rookie guard Pritchard (7.3) plus big men Theis (8.8 & 5.0) and Thompson (7.8 & 8.4) are solid NBA players.
The Celtics and Pacers split their first two meetings this season as part of a back-to-back at Indiana in December. Tonight's game begins FOUR straight on the road for Indiana, before the Pacers wrap up the season's first-half with a home game against the Nuggets (Mar 4). Boston won't leave the TD Garden until after the All Star break (four straight at home) and head coach Brad Stevens opined, "These next four games will tell us a lot about where we can go." My bet says Boston wins here "with room to spare."