The Indiana Pacers will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season against the team that recently recorded the longest run in the NBA when the Boston Celtics visit Saturday night. The Pacers’ streak hit five in a row with Friday’s 107-104 victory over Toronto in the beginning of a stretch in which Indiana plays nine of 11 at home.
Victor Oladipo scored 21 points to lead the way although he suffered a bruised right knee in the fourth quarter and his status is up in the air for Saturday. The Celtics had their 16-game run snapped at Miami on Wednesday but bounced back in fine fashion with a 118-103 win over Orlando at home in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate. “Our guys came out focused, ready to play,” center Al Horford told reporters after matching a career high with 10 assists. “We finally got a (first) half going. That first half was the key for us winning that game.” Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and is averaging 32.5 over a four-game span while shooting 64.8 percent for Boston.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN Boston, FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE CELTICS (17-3): Boston will be a bit shorthanded in the second half of a back-to-back, as forward Marcus Morris will be held out as he works his way back from knee soreness and Jaylen Brown could miss the game after traveling to Georgia for a funeral. Terry Rozier is one the key reserves who could fill that gap and he is coming off a career-high 23-point effort against the Magic. “I‘m not perfect,” Rozier told the media, referencing the 22 total points he had over his previous five contests. “I‘m going to have tough games. (But) I’ll have games like this.”
ABOUT THE PACERS (11-8): When Oladipo had to depart, Lance Stephenson stepped in and carried Indiana to the finish line with 13 of his 18 points in the final five minutes. “Even though I couldn’t go, there were a lot of guys that stepped up and played great for us; Lance played great,” Oladipo told reporters. Stephenson entered Friday with a 7-for-33 showing from 3-point range on the season, but he nailed all four of his attempts versus the Raptors.
1. Celtics G Marcus Smart went 1-of-7 against Orlando and is shooting 26.5 percent on the season.
2. Pacers F Bojan Bogdanovic is averaging 23.7 points over the last three games.
3. The Celtics took all three meetings last season, including a pair of matchups in Indiana.
PREDICTION: Pacers 103, Celtics 101