Pacers at Celtics
Rajon Rondo admitted what many of his detractors have said for a long time. "I'm a sore loser," the Boston Celtics guard said at Thursday's practice. "It's tough to lose." With that in mind, Rondo hopes to see an end to the Celtics' four-game losing streak on Friday when they host the surging Indiana Pacers. Boston has fallen by an average of 19.8 points per game during its skid.
Former Celtics swingman Tony Allen scored a season-high 15 points as Memphis handed Boston its eighth loss in 10 outings with a 93-83 decision on Wednesday. Indiana is headed in the opposite direction, winning nine of 11 to climb atop the Central Division. Paul George led the way in the Pacers' last victory, collecting 29 points and 14 rebounds as Frank Vogel's charges posted an 89-81 triumph over Washington on Wednesday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSNE
ABOUT THE PACERS (19-13): D.J. Augustin is settling into the starting role in the wake of an injury to George Hill (strained right groin). Augustin scored 10 of his season-high 18 points in the fourth quarter - and improved to 14-for-16 from the line in the last two games. David West, on the other hand, is just 6-for-19 during that stretch.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (14-17): Despite its losing skid, Boston can wrap its arms around one positive as Avery Bradley turned in a fine effort in his season debut on Wednesday. "Avery was terrific on the ball," coach Doc Rivers said of Bradley's defense. "Avery's going to help us; you could see that. And that'll be immediate for us." Bradley was sidelined seven months following a pair of shoulder surgeries.
1. Despite leading their division, the Pacers are averaging just 91.8 points per game - which is third-worst in the NBA.
2. The teams split four meetings last season - with Boston winning the last two.
3. Indiana swingman Sam Young has been ruled out indefinitely with a left ankle sprain.
Celtics 98, Pacers 88