The Boston Celtics could not handle the Washington Wizards‘ late surge in Saturday’s loss. It was yet lead blown by the Celtics. They have now lost two in a row, and the road doesn’t get much easier as they travel to Indiana to play the Indiana Pacers, the best team in the Eastern Conference. Here are the three keys to victory for the Celtics.
The last time these two team played each other, the Celtics were out-rebounded 41-31. With the like of Roy Hibbert and David West, hitting the glass becomes more of a challenge. Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass only grabbed seven total rebounds in the last meeting. In order to beat Indiana, those guys need to be in the double-digits. Also, they need to look for their shots more and spread the floor. Getting Hibbert out of the paint is crucial for a win.
Indiana has arguably the best defense in the league. They are no. 1 in points allowed, while the Celtics are one of the worst teams in the league in terms of scoring. Without Rajon Rondo and a true no. 1 option, it is difficult to generate enough offense to win a game. In the last matchup against the Pacers, the Celtics shot very well from the field, but 21 turnovers proved to be detrimental.
The team only accounted for 11 total assists. Jordan Crawford only had four. The team needs to work together and pass the ball around more in order to put the ball in the basket. However, Jeff Green scored 20 points and Crawford scored 24. Those two players were the only highlights of the offense.
Guarding Paul George
Paul George scored a game-high 27 points in the last matchup. Whatever the game plan was to stopping George, it clearly wasn’t working. George is so long and explosive that he’s a matchup nightmare for anyone. Green has a similar body type and may be the only one who can contain him.
With Indiana’s height and defensive prowess, its hard to imagine the Celtics coming out on top in this one. They are simply overmatched by the Pacers. The only chance the Celtics have is if the Pacers do not play up to par, which is a strong possibility. If they don’t take these Celtics seriously, it could be a terrific night for Boston.
Prediction: Pacers — 94, Celtics — 87