SIZABLE CHALLENGE: The Celtics are hoping to get Jared Sullinger (concussion) back after a three-game absence. That would provide a needed lift up front where size-deprived Boston could still be forced to go small despite Indiana's size. The Pacers are the best rebounding team in the league (ranking second in defensive rebound rate and tops in overall rebound rate). That size also helps them protect the rim and Indiana owns the best defensive rating in the NBA while allowing 94.2 points per 100 possessions (3 ½ points better than the nearest competitor).
MORE LIKE JERRYD BAYMORE, AMIRITE? Making his first start for the Celtics on Wednesday, Jerryd Bayless erupted for a season-high 29 points. Injuries could allow Bayless to stay in the starting lineup alongside Rajon Rondo. "Jerryd is a scorer. He doesn’t really need me out there to make plays," said Rondo. "He made a lot of plays for himself. But when I did find him, or when guys found him, he knocked down shots."
LOOSE BALLS: This is the third meeting of the season. The Pacers won the first two meetings by an average of 21 points, including a 27-point triumph in Indiana that spoiled Brad Stevens' homecoming in December. ... Chris Babb, signed Friday to a 10-day contract, will make his NBA debut. With Boston short-handed on the wing, he could see time. ... Indiana coach Frank Vogel, his team playing down a bit to lesser competition lately, implored his team not to look past any opponents. "You can't look at records. Everybody plays at different levels throughout the year," Vogel told reporters. "Different teams play better at different points of the season."