Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Pick & Prediction JANUARY 8th 2024

The Boston Celtics will be seeking back-to-back victories over the Indiana Pacers when the teams meet Monday night in Indianapolis.

The Celtics received 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists from Jayson Tatum and led wire to wire in a 118-101 road victory against the Pacers on Saturday. The loss ended Indiana’s six-game winning streak.

Tatum made a season-high eight 3-pointers and was 14 of 23 from the field. Jaylen Brown added 31 points in the win.

The Celtics led by 16 in the first half, but the Pacers were within three points, 84-81, after three quarters. Boston opened the fourth quarter with a 16-4 run, and Indiana failed to get within single digits after that.

“We started playing with the right intentions,” Tatum said. “We had too many turnovers in the first half and that’s what got them back into the game. This team — they feed off turnovers and playing in transition. Just really taking care of the ball and knowing who we wanted to attack.

“It’s going to be tough (Monday),” Tatum continued. “They’re going to make adjustments. We have to see what we can do better. It’s like a playoff series on the road. We won Game 1. Gotta get ready for Game 2.”

Indiana, which leads the NBA in scoring (126.8 ppg), was held to its lowest point total of the season in Saturday’s loss. The Pacers were 8 of 42 from behind the 3-point arc (19.0 percent).

“We missed a lot of shots,” Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton said. “They’re a really good defensive team, but we shot a lot of shots that we like. I mean, I’ll go back and watch film so I can really tell you, but felt good with a lot of the shots that we shot today. Just didn’t capitalize on them.”

Bennedict Mathurin led the Pacers with 20 points in the loss. Haliburton added 17 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals, but he was 5 of 17 from the field and 2 of 9 from 3-point range.

The Celtics missed nine of their 19 free throws but outrebounded Indiana 56-38.

“We were right there,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were down one and gave up a two-pointer at the end of the third quarter. We were down three after three and hadn’t played particularly well.

“We never had a lead in the game and we’re doing some good things defensively, but the rebounding is a big problem.”

The Celtics overcame the loss of center Kristaps Porzingis, who headed to the locker room in the first quarter with an eye injury after he was hit in the face by Aaron Nesmith. Porzingis, who is averaging 19.8 points per game, warmed up before the start of the second half but did not return to the game.

Boston’s Al Horford came off the bench and finished the game with 10 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

“We just can’t keep taking (Horford) for granted,” Tatum said. “Best teammate I ever had. Ultimate professional and somebody we can count on night-in and night-out, and he proved that again tonight.”

The Pacers may have Bruce Brown back in the lineup Monday. Brown has been dealing with a bone bruise on his right knee and didn’t play Saturday, which was Indiana’s second game in as many nights.

Boston has won two of three games against Indiana this season.

–Field Level Media

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