- The Celtics welcome the Pacers to the TD Garden on Friday night
- Boston is on a disappointing three-game losing skid, while Indiana is also coming off a defeat to Golden State on Wednesday
- Get our odds, preview, and best bet below for this contest
The Boston Celtics will be hoping a change of scenery can help them break out of their losing streak when they face the Indiana Pacers on Friday, February 26th, tip-off 7:30pm ET at TD Garden.
The C’s just finished up a three-game road trip, losing to the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks. Indiana meanwhile, are just 4-6 in their last 10 contests, but still, they sit at 15-15 which leaves them fourth in an unpredictable Eastern Conference.
These teams already met in a two-game set back in December, grabbing one victory apiece.
Pacers vs Celtics Odds
|Indiana Pacers||+3 (-110)||+130||O 218.5 (-110)|
|Boston Celtics||-3 (-110)||-154||U 218.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb 25 at Fanduel
Indiana Playing Well on The Road
With basically no fans in the stands this season, home-court advantage isn’t a huge deal. For the Pacers, they’ve actually thrived away from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, going 8-5. Indiana has beaten the likes of New Orleans, Portland, Charlotte, and the Hawks on the road.
Nate Bjorkgren’s team will be looking to take advantage of a struggling Celtics squad on Friday after a tough loss to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Indiana’s one-week break due to postponed games took its toll on them as they looked rusty on Wednesday.
The Pacers were completely dominated in the paint, being outscored 66-48. Indy was also ice cold from downtown, shooting just 24% despite numerous open looks. Their big two of Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon had productive nights though, with 22 and 24 points, respectively.
But after clawing back into the game late in the third quarter, their offense was non-existent in the fourth as they struggled to convert shots. Indiana’s defense couldn’t get stops either when it mattered most, as Draymond Green drained several key baskets to secure the win for Golden State. The Pacers’ 19 turnovers didn’t help their case, either.
After a long layoff, the Blue & Gold dropped a close game to the Warriors on Wednesday night.
“We played hard, we matched intensity, but we just didn’t come away with it at the end,” said Myles.
Full Game Rewind ⤵️https://t.co/zIDQqohYtY
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 25, 2021
Overall though, it’s been a decent year for Bjorkgren’s squad. They’re right in the thick of things in the East. However, some tough contests are ahead after this Boston game, including meetings with the Sixers, Nuggets, Lakers, Nets, and Suns. Indiana will be tested in a short period of time by some very good teams.
Celtics Need a Win
One of the bigger surprises in the NBA this season has been the poor start for the Boston Celtics. General Manager Danny Ainge even came out recently and blamed himself for the Celtics’ struggles, making the claim that Boston doesn’t have a good enough team.
A 15-17 record is certainly not acceptable for an organization that was in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Defense has been the glaring issue for Brad Stevens’ team, currently sitting 17th in the NBA in defensive rating. Through their last three games, Boston is allowing a dismal 119 points per game, which puts them towards the bottom of the league during that span.
Offensively, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been solid. They’re both averaging over 25 a night. Kemba Walker though, who was seen as their third star, hasn’t been able to find his scoring touch. The former Hornets guard is shooting a disappointing 37.5% from the field and just 34.9% from three-point range.
Marcus Smart’s absence has also been severely felt for the C’s, who is a legitimate two-way player and arguably their best defensive figure. The one big problem with Boston this season has been their struggles in the fourth quarter. They rank in the bottom five of the association in turnovers, points, assists, three-point and field-goal percentage in the final period. The Celtics simply can’t close out games.
We are focused on improving over the next four games before heading into the All-Star break as Tatum looks to lead by example. pic.twitter.com/WrXjrdbpS2
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 25, 2021
Another underwhelming performance against Atlanta on Wednesday saw Boston trail by 23 at half and end up losing 127-112. Hopefully, though, the C’s can get back on the right track and save their season before it’s too late.
Despite their losing streak, Boston enters as the favorites here. They’re actually playing well at TD Garden this season, going 8-5. They’ve only covered the spread 52.5% of the time, but I like them here to break out of their cold streak and grab an important victory.
Indiana hasn’t been playing as well lately compared to when these two previously met back in December. The Celtics are going to be hungry for a solid performance on both sides of the ball and I think you’ll see them come out on top here while covering the 3-point spread.
Pick: Boston Celtics -3 (-110)