NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 11th (All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (22-41) at Indiana Pacers (46-17), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers are known for defense and that's been their problem in a season-high four-game losing streak.
The Pacers are back home Tuesday after an unsuccessful road trip and will try to sweep the season series from the Boston Celtics for the first time since 1998-99, when they took all three games. The Pacers won all four meetings with Boston in 1997-98.
Indiana has won the first three meetings with Boston, including a 106-79 beating in the first encounter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 22. The Pacers hope the success in this series will help them avoid a five-game losing streak for the first time since Feb. 8-15, 2012.
The losing continued for Indiana with Sunday's 105-94 loss at Dallas, as Paul George led three players with 20 or points by scoring 27 and grabbing 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson and George Hill scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, in the loss.
Indiana had won five in a row before the slide and its bench was outscored by a lopsided 41-4 margin. The Mavericks used a 12-2 run to take a 70-60 lead and later had an 87-77 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. The Pacers closed the gap to 89-87, but never got any closer.
"I thought we played hard tonight. We just didn't come away with a win," George said.
The Pacers, who had 21 turnovers for 26 Dallas points, have lost three straight games by double digits and are allowing 108.7 points per game in that span. They are still first in opponents' field goal percentage at 41.9, first with 35.3 ppg allowed in the paint and tied for first with 92.2 ppg allowed.
Indiana sits only one game ahead of Miami for the East's top spot and is an NBA-best 29-4 at home this season. It will try to send Boston to its fifth straight loss as the guest.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel announced that center Andrew Bynum will make his team debut Tuesday. Vogel said earlier in the day that due to Ian Mahinmi's bruised ribs, Bynum will come off the bench.
Bynum, who missed all of 2012-13 with knee problems, averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The Cavaliers suspended and ultimately traded the seven-footer in January to the Chicago Bulls, who quickly released him in a salary dump move.
The Pacers then signed Bynum on Feb. 1. Bynum he has not suited up in any game since signing.
The Celtics are only 8-22 on the road, but enter Tuesday's game having won two in a row and three of five games. They prevailed for just the third time in 10 tries with Sunday's 118-111 win over the Detroit Pistons behind a barrage of 3-pointers (10-of-31) and 27 points from Jeff Green.
Green made 11-of-19 from the floor, including 5-of-12 3-pointers, and Kris Humphries chipped in 20 points and 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo posted 11 points to go with 18 assists for Boston.
"I thought the ball movement was great tonight, I think we had a verity of guys tonight making shots and that always helps," said Celtics forward Brandon Bass, who was held to five points.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk had 18 points off the bench in the win.
Boston hopes Rondo can play at Indiana as he is bothered by a sore knee. He recently had 12 points and 11 assists in a 102-97 home loss to the Pacers on March 1.
03/11 12:05:40 ET