Celtics set to entertain Pacers

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two Eastern Conference squads will try to end early- season losing streaks Friday night when the Boston Celtics welcome the Indiana Pacers to TD Garden.

The Celtics have dropped three straight since a great opening-night win over the Brooklyn Nets. The first two in the slide came in Texas against Houston and Dallas, but the C's dropped their first home contest of the season Wednesday when the reigning Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors escaped with a 110-107 victory.

Boston had a few solid individual performances, but it couldn't overcome 28 turnovers that led to 36 points.

Rajon Rondo registered his 20th career triple-double with 13 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, while Jeff Green paced the Celtics with 20 points. Jared Sullinger chipped in 19 points and 16 rebounds in Boston's third straight loss against Toronto.

Kelly Olynyk also recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie Marcus Smart chipped in 12 points off the bench as the C's slaughtered the Raps on the boards, 55-24.

"I thought the biggest difference in the game was their athleticism and physicality," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of the Raptors. "I thought most of our turnovers were in the halfcourt. They had active hands in the halfcourt."

The Celtics out-shot the Raptors, but the 28 turnovers were too much to overcome.

The Pacers haven't won since an opening-night victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. That lone win came at home, but the Pacers are 0-2 as visitors this season.

Indiana's most recent setback came Wednesday night with a 96-94 road loss to the Washington Wizards, the team the Pacers dispatched in six games in the second round of last season's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Pacers led 88-87 in the extra session before Washington's John Wall netted six straight points during the middle stages of the frame and the Wizards hung on down the stretch.

Trailing 96-94 in the closing seconds, Roy Hibbert missed a left wing 3- pointer and Chris Copeland's putback was off the mark for Indiana, which was without Paul George, George Hill, C.J. Watson, David West and Rodney Stuckey. Lance Stephenson, of course, left Indiana for Charlotte in the offseason.

"I saw the ball come to me, so I had to shoot it," said Hibbert, who finished with a measly two points. "I can't wait until everybody gets healthy."

Donald Sloan, who tallied a career-high 31 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds, netted the final seven Indiana points in regulation to force overtime.

Copeland supplied 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench and Solomon Hill provided 14 points and eight rebounds for the 1-4 Pacers, who are off to their worst start since the 1996-97 squad began 1-5.

The Pacers swept all four meetings last season and that came after Boston won four straight. Indy has won three of the previous five trips to Boston, while the C's have taken nine of the last 12 as the host.