Surging Celtics aim to remain hot vs. Pacers

The Boston Celtics will try for their 12th win in 13 games when they take on the host Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Boston avenged its lone loss in the month — a 112-111 setback against Detroit on Feb. 16 — by defeating the Pistons 113-104 on Saturday afternoon.

Jaylen Brown scored 27 points in the opener of the Celtics’ weekend back-to-back set. Jayson Tatum recorded a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Payton Pritchard made 8 of 12 shots off the bench for 19 points. It was Richard’s first double-digit scoring performance since he posted 17 points in Boston’s 111-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 14.

“He’s never gonna give up,” Brown said of Pritchard in the postgame press conference. “Those are the guys that I like to be around.”

The Celtics began their three-game road trip with a 129-106 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. They’ll look to complete a perfect road trip with a third consecutive win over Indiana this season.

Boston won back-to-back contests against the Pacers on Jan. 10 and 12, the first a 101-98 overtime decision at home. The second was a 119-100 road romp in which Brown and Tatum scored 34 and 33 points, respectively.

Brown and Tatum had 26 and 24 points, respectively, in the first encounter with the Pacers.

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Indiana brings a retooled lineup into Sunday’s game, having traded Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb to Sacramento before the All-Star break. Newly acquired Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton have quickly established themselves as go-to scoring threats for the Pacers, averaging team-highs of 21.8 and 19.4 points, respectively, through their first five games with the organization.

Haliburton scored 14 points and dished 11 assists in 43 minutes in Indiana’s 129-125 overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Friday. That game marked the first in which the Pacers had both Haliburton and Malcolm Brogdon available.

Brogdon missed 15 games due to an Achilles injury. Brogdon scored 15 points and was 3-for-8 from 3-point range against the Thunder.

Although both Haliburton and Brogdon play the point, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said in his postgame press conference Friday that “these guys fit together extremely well.”

“He’s as unselfish as they come,” Brogdon said of Haliburton. “Great energy, plays hard on both ends, so I really enjoy playing with him.”

Friday’s loss was Indiana’s eighth in its last nine games. The Pacers dropped seven straight from Feb. 2-15 before picking up a win just before the break with a 113-108 triumph over the Washington Wizards.

Indiana remains without Chris Duarte, who sustained a toe injury before the break. However, Carlisle told reporters on Friday that the 13.4-point per game scoring rookie is close to a return. Myles Turner has not played since Jan. 14 due to a foot injury, and T.J. McConnell last played Dec. 1 after undergoing surgery on his right wrist.

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–Field Level Media

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