On Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Boston Celtics made 12 of their first 15 shots, good for 80 percent from the floor, in building a 25-point lead by the second quarter. After that, they made just 18 of their final 60n shots against the league's worst defensive team statistically, good for 30 percent from the floor. It was another waste of a huge lead and an escape in the truest sense, the final result being an 85-82 win.
So again, the question must be asked: which Celtics' team will show up, not just from night to night, but seemingly from quarter to quarter? They'll get another chance to answer that question on Monday night when Boston takes on the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. EDT (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI), in the second game of a four-game road trip.
The Celtics (51-21) have ceded first place overall in the Eastern Conference to the smoking hot Chicago Bulls and are now trying to ward off the Miami Heat, who are just a half game behind Boston.
Boston was without Rajon Rondo against the Wolves due to a strained pinky finger and it's not certain whether Rondo will suit up on Monday night. Perhaps the time off could be good for Rondo, who is shooting just 29.2 percent from the floor over the past two weeks and has managed just 7.1 assists per game over his last 10, down significantly from the 11.4 he's averaged for the season. Delonte West filled in well for Rondo on Sunday, finishing with eight points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes.
Indiana has struggled against the C's in a major way of late. The Pacers have lost their last five meetings with Boston and 11 of the last 13, including a 92-80 defeat at TD Garden on March 16, in which Jeff Green torched them for 19 points off the bench. The Pacers shot just 37.5 percent from the floor in that one and have averaged just under 90 points per game while shooting just 40 percent over their five-game slide against the C's. Danny Granger, the Pacers' star forward, has looked especially lost against Boston during that stretch, putting up just 16 points per game.The Pacers (32-42) are clinging to the the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, but have lost two in a row to non-contenders Detroit and Sacramento.
In addition to Rondo being questionable, the Celtics will also be without forward Troy Murphy, who will miss the entire road trip due to a sprained ankle suffered in practice last Thursday.