(SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams battling for the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference will duke it out Wednesday when the Indiana Pacers visit TD Bank Garden to face the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics are in ninth place, a half-game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the final postseason spot. The Pacers are a game in back of Boston, so Wednesday's contest could do a lot to thin out the field.
Boston has won two of three and three of five. The Celtics will try to snap a three-game home losing streak and will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
On Monday, the Celtics went down to Charlotte and knocked off the Hornets, another team battling for the eighth playoff place, 116-104.
Avery Bradley came up big in an important game for the Boston Celtics, racking up 30 points to lead the way. Five other Celtics finished in double figures, but it was Bradley who carried the team in the pivotal matchup. The talented guard went 12-of-23 from the field, added eight rebounds, and tallied 19 of his points in the second half.
Boston went into the break owning a 56-44 lead, and Bradley made sure the Celtics stayed in front by taking over the third quarter.
He sank a pair of treys early in the frame to extend the margin to 64-46, then hit another to ignite a 9-2 run that had Boston up by a commanding 83-61 count with two minutes to go in the third. Bradley put up 15 points in all for the stanza.
"I thought Avery was terrific on both ends of the floor," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said.
Evan Turner chipped in 15 points, while Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart scored 14 each.
The Pacers have been struggling, the losers of two of their last three. They are 2-8 over their last 10 to fall further out of the playoff picture.
On Tuesday, Indiana lost another important matchup, this time with the Nets. The Pacers were game, but ultimately fell, 111-106, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
George Hill scored 28 points to lead the Pacers. David West added 14 points and the Indiana bench scored 48, but they couldn't contain the newly-potent Brooklyn duo of Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.
"We have to move on right away," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "There's plenty of basketball to be played."
The Nets, after leading by as many as 19 points in the first half, took an 84-79 edge into the fourth quarter and remained in front the rest of the way. It wasn't a safe lead until Johnson buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 108-100 with 15.4 seconds left.
The Pacers host the Hornets and Miami Heat over the weekend.
The Celtics have taken two of three from the Pacers this season after getting swept last season.