Things will not get any easier tonight when the Celtics host the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers average 45.5 rebounds per game, good enough for fifth in the NBA. Frank Vogel’s team also ranks second in points allowed per game, surrendering just 90 points a contest.
Tonight’s first key is matching Indiana’s physicality. Count on the number one team in the Central Division playing aggressive, looking to move Boston off their spots and trying to disrupt their rhythm. To avoid sliding even further, Boston will have to bang back.
Expect a heavy dose of Jason Collins tonight, in an effort to combat the duo of David West and Roy Hibbert.
The second key is limiting a team that is 28th in points per game. This used to be a sure thing, but with the Celtics defensive identity missing, we can only hope.
Fortunately, Danny Granger remains sidelined with a left knee injury. However, in his absence Paul George has done a tremendous job carrying the scoring load. George is averaging 16.9 points per game this season, and has become a threat from three-point range, shooting 38 percent from beyond-the-arc.
Paul Pierce will have to contain the Pacers second-leading scorer, whose size (6”8) and athleticism make him dangerous in the paint.
Tonight’s third key is scoring. Boston went 32-71, shooting 45.1 percent in Wednesday’s loss to Memphis. They need to make their jump shots, and they need to attack the basket and get to the foul line.
Doc Rivers said the team plans on running more sets for Jason Terry. It is important that the player being counted on to replace the scoring of Ray Allen comes through for his team, tonight, and going forward.