Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/19

Game 1: Sunday, December 19th
Pacers88Final
Celtics99
Game 2: Tuesday, December 28th
Celtics95Final
Pacers83
Game 3: Wednesday, March 16th
Pacers80Final
Celtics92
Game 4: Monday, March 28th
Celtics100Final
Pacers107

Pacers 88

(12-14, 5-8 away)

Celtics 99

(22-4, 12-1 home)

    Coverage: CSNN

    1:00 PM ET, December 19, 2010

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 23 25 17 2388
    BOS 30 21 18 3099

    Top Performers

    Ind: R. Hibbert 17 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Bos: P. Pierce 18 Pts, 10 Reb, 12 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pacers-Celtics Preview

    STATS LLC

    The Boston Celtics are already missing NBA assist leader Rajon Rondo and might be ready to add a fourth center to their list of walking wounded.

    Those who remain in the lineup are making the slew of injuries easy to forget.

    Boston's Big Three and one of the league's stingiest defenses have kept the Celtics thriving during 12 straight wins, a run they'll look to extend to an NBA season-high 13 on Sunday afternoon against the visiting Indiana Pacers.

    Boston (21-4) hasn't had Rondo for four games during its streak and has been without Shaquille O'Neal for the past four contests, while Jermaine O'Neal has been out since early November and Kendrick Perkins likely won't make his season debut until after the All-Star break.

    The Celtics certainly haven't let those absences slow them down. Boston has won by an average of 13.4 points while allowing 88.9 points per game during its streak, which it pushed to 12 with a 102-90 win over Atlanta on Thursday.

    "What are you going to do? Quit? Put your clothes on and go home?" Kevin Garnett said after finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds -- his third straight double-double. "That's not what we do here.

    "We are just out here grinding. There's nothing else to say. Every player is giving everything they have. In order for us to win these games, we just have to give everything we have until we get guys back."

    Rondo might not be back until early January, but Jermaine O'Neal (knee) could return before Christmas after practicing Saturday.

    Shaquille O'Neal (calf) is a game-time decision Sunday, as is fellow center Semih Erden, who injured his groin Thursday while making a fourth straight start in the middle. If neither can go, Glen Davis -- who's averaged 15.0 points in his last 10 games -- would get the start.

    The Celtics' 12-game streak is tied for the league's longest this season with San Antonio (Nov. 1-24), Dallas (Nov. 20-Dec. 11) and Miami, which beat Washington on Saturday to get to 12. The Spurs and Mavericks both lost at home in their quest for No. 13.

    There's little reason to believe the Pacers (12-13) have what it takes to knock off Boston. The Celtics have taken nine of 10 in the series at TD Garden, with the wins coming by an average of 13.5 points.

    Indiana comes in feeling a little better about itself after snapping an ugly three-game slide in which it averaged just 83.3 points.

    Danny Granger shot 29.6 percent in two of those losses and missed another with a sore ankle, but helped the Pacers' offense bounce back Friday. He had 30 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in a 108-99 win over Cleveland.

    Indiana is 12-5 when Granger scores at least 18 points.

    "I went through a stretch when I wasn't being very aggressive or assertive offensively," Granger said. "I made a point to just go out and try to be an assassin. That philosophy works better for me. Other games I've been coasting. I have to be aggressive."

    Granger hasn't enjoyed playing on the road against the Celtics very much, however. The league's 2008-09 Most Improved Player has averaged 11.3 points in seven games at Boston -- his lowest average in any venue in the Eastern Conference.

    If Shaquille O'Neal and Erden can't play, the Pacers may try to consistently feed the ball to Roy Hibbert. Indiana's center had 23 points in his last trip to Boston, though that was a rare highlight in a 122-103 loss March 12.

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