The Boston Celtics' recent slump has dropped them out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Continuing their success against the Indiana Pacers could make that demotion short-lived.
Boston can reclaim a share of the East lead Wednesday night with its seventh straight home victory against Indiana.
The Celtics (47-18) have lost three of four overall to fall one-half game behind Chicago for the conference's No. 1 seed. Their 88-79 loss Monday in New Jersey marked the fourth time in five games they scored less than 90 points.
Paul Pierce shot 2 for 10 and finished with seven points, dropping his average to 10.7 over his last three games. Rajon Rondo has totaled four points on 2-for-16 shooting in his last two games.
Rondo tweaked his ankle in the first half against the Nets, but later returned and said the injury wasn't serious.
"Obviously we didn't shoot well. I didn't shoot well," Rondo said. "We've got to get better looks at the basket. I know we had a lot of wide-open shots, some shots we made, a lot of shots we missed (Monday) that we usually make."
Boston may get a minor boost against Indiana, as coach Doc Rivers said Delonte West is on track to return. The reserve guard has played in only eight games this season because of a broken wrist and, most recently, a sprained right ankle.
The Celtics have won both meetings this season against the Pacers and are 10-2 in the series -- 6-0 at home -- since Garnett and Allen arrived in Boston for the 2007-08 season.
Indiana (29-38) will be coming to town on a high this time, though, after a home-and-home sweep of New York.
Danny Granger scored 26 points Tuesday, including a jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining to give the Pacers a 119-117 home victory. Granger missed Sunday's 106-93 win at Madison Square Garden because of strep throat.
Tyler Hansbrough set a new career high in each game against the Knicks, following a 29-point effort Sunday with 30 points two nights later.
The Pacers, who had lost six straight prior to Sunday, are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East -- one-half game ahead of Charlotte.
"We had a rough stretch that, we all understand that we went through a tough time," coach Frank Vogel said. "We're on our way back to being ourselves."
Neither Granger nor Hansbrough has done much against the Celtics this season.
Granger shot 5 for 20 and scored 19 points Dec. 19 in a 99-88 loss at Boston, then shot 5 for 21 and had 15 points in a 95-83 home defeat nine days later.
Jim O'Brien, who used Hansbrough sparingly, was still coaching the Pacers for those meetings. Hansbrough went scoreless in just more than 12 minutes in the first matchup, and did not play at all in the second.