The Boston Celtics turned it on late in a win at Memphis over the weekend and look to carry the momentum into a road matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Monday. Losers of three of five after a 22-4 start and trailing by two points to the Grizzlies entering the fourth quarter on Saturday, the Celtics scored 16 straight points to begin the period and rolled to a 102-93 victory.
“We just stayed composed and went out and executed,” Boston forward Al Horford told reporters of the strong finish. “We got some stops on defense. On the offensive end, we moved the ball pretty well. I think that was the difference. We opened up the game after that.” Kyrie Irving led Boston with 20 points and scored 25 in a 108-98 win at Indiana last month, the Celtics’ fourth straight victory in the all-time series. That result ended a five-game winning streak for the Pacers, who are 11-5 in their last 16 games overall after a 109-97 triumph in Brooklyn on Sunday. Victor Oladipo’s breakout campaign continued with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting and seven rebounds as Indiana improved to 12-7 against the Eastern Conference.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN Boston, FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE CELTICS (25-7): Boston’s fortunes of late largely have rested on the play of rookie forward Jayson Tatum, who recorded 19 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals at Memphis. The 19-year-old, who leads the NBA with a 51 percent mark from 3-point range, is averaging 15 points while shooting 58.6 percent overall in the team’s last three wins and 5.5 on 2-of-13 shooting in the two losses. Tatum’s team-high nine boards helped the Celtics gain a 42-38 advantage on the glass one game after they were outrebounded 55-31 in a loss to Utah.
ABOUT THE PACERS (17-13): Myles Turner scored 16 points against the Nets and is averaging 20 on 15-of-25 shooting over his last two games while continuing to lead the league in blocks (2.4). His backup, rookie Domantas Sabonis, registered 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks at Brooklyn as Indiana won the battle of the boards by 14. The young big men combined for 36 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to Boston last month in a game Oladipo missed due to a bruised knee.
1. Oladipo is averaging 30.2 points, seven rebounds and 4.8 assists over his last five games.
2. Irving averages 25.6 points while shooting 44.7 percent from 3-point range on the road, compared to 22.8 and 34.1 percent at home.
3. Indiana is 2-4 in the second game of back-to-back sets.
PREDICTION: Celtics 104, Pacers 100