The Boston Celtics may be cruising to a third straight Atlantic Division title, but re-establishing their home-court advantage before the playoffs start might be a priority.
The Celtics look to rebound from one of their worst home performances of the season Friday night when they host the last-place Indiana Pacers.
Boston (40-23) is atop the Atlantic by eight games on second-place Toronto with 19 remaining in the regular season. The Celtics have built that cushion despite an 18-12 record at TD Garden after going 35-6 there in each of the last two seasons.
"We gotta play better, especially at home," forward Kevin Garnett told the team's official Web site. "This is where we make our mark and this is where we supposedly lay our heads, and we gotta protect it like that."
Boston is 7-8 at home in the past two months, including Wednesday's 111-91 defeat to Memphis in a listless performance that saw the Celtics get outrebounded 48-23. The loss matched their most lopsided of the season, which came at home to Cleveland on Feb. 25.
Nine of Boston's next 13 games will be at home.
"We're not looking down to May and April right now, right now we need to be taking care of March," said Garnett, held to six points on 3-of-9 shooting against the Grizzlies. "That's the mindset. We've got to do it soon, and do it immediately."
The Celtics could use increased production from Paul Pierce, the team leader with 17.5 points per game. The swingman is averaging 12.5 points and shooting 34.1 percent from the field over the last four games.
Pierce had 21 points in a 103-94 win over Indiana (21-43) on Dec. 22 as the Celtics extended their home winning streak in the series to four. The only other matchup this season also was the Pacers' lone victory in the last five meetings, 113-104 on Nov. 14.
Danny Granger had 29 points in that win -- he missed the game at Boston with a heel injury -- and he'll be back in Indiana's lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a fight during Saturday's loss at Phoenix.
Granger averaged 28.7 points in three games prior to the ban.
Indiana didn't miss Granger at all Tuesday, ending a four-game slide by beating Philadelphia 107-96 behind swingman Dahntay Jones' 25 points off the bench.
"We have guys that are capable of scoring and making the right plays," said Jones, who is averaging a career-high 10.9 points and had 25 against the Celtics in November. "When we found out Danny was not playing, we just took advantage of the opportunity."
The Pacers are in position to win consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 2-5. They're 3-11 since and are at the bottom of the Central, all but certain to miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.