When the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers meet on Saturday night, it may be a prelude of things to come in this year's postseason. Boston is currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference while Indiana is the third seed, but a strong finish by the Atlanta Hawks (the fifth seed) and a poor one by Indiana could create a first-round matchup between the two.
For now, we'll just have to settle for what should be an enticing regular season battle at 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).
After having so much success in the second half of the season, the Celtics (30-24) have dropped their last two games against the San Antonio Spurs and the conference-leading Chicago Bulls -- something they haven't done since March 16 and 17. Boston's most recent shortcoming came in Chicago, where the Bulls were victorious, 93-86. Despite holding a lead for much of the game, the Celtics gave away the game in the second half and were unable to recover.
Doc Rivers lambasted his team in the media after the game, saying his team looked like the "cool" Celtics and that the playoffs are the furthest thing from him mind. Kevin Garnett responded to Doc's comments, saying that he was surprised and that he didn't see things the same way. Nevertheless, he'll continue to make sure he's ready to play.
Avery Bradley will once again get the start for the Celtics, marking the second straight game he will be doing so even with the return of Ray Allen. According to reports, Allen had asked Rivers about making the switch to the bench before Bradley's offensive resurgence in the month of March, which gives the team more options.
Indiana (34-21) hasn't lost yet in April, winning four in a row against the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder. Of that grouping, the win over the Thunder was the most impressive, as the Pacers were able to overcome a 44-point night from Kevin Durant to pull out the 103-98 win on Friday night.
Boston and Indiana have met three times before this season, with the Pacers winning the first two meetings before the Celtics captured a 94-87 win at TD Garden on January 27 due in part to a 27-points, 10-rebound game from Paul Pierce.