Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Celtics 103
Wednesday night’s game between the Pacers (22-16) and Boston Celtics (19-19), their third meeting of the season, provided Indiana with an opportunity to secure their first win in the second night of back-to-back games this season, having dropped their previous three tries.
In what began as a game of several opposing runs, starting with a lengthy Celtics lead and interrupted by a dominant third quarter from Paul George, culminated with Boston taking advantage of several untimely Pacers’ errors leading to a 94-103 loss for the Blue and Gold on the road in Boston.
The game began as a chess duel between coaches Frank Vogel and Brad Stevens.
After an 8-0 start by the Pacers, Stevens called a timeout to halt Indiana’s momentum. It was clearly effective, as a subsequent 13-4 run gave the Celtics a one-point lead, 13-12, and forced Vogel to respond in similar fashion. Vogel’s stoppage did little to slow the Celtics’ torrid scoring pace, however, as they embarked on another run, this time outscoring the Pacers 13-2 and forcing yet another Vogel timeout with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter. The Pacers’ second forced-break in the action, down 14-26, proved to be much more effective, as they closed out the first quarter with a 10-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to 24-28.
Boston came out strongly in the second quarter with a 12-4 run, before George Hill’s 3-pointer cut the lead to nine, 31-40, and sparked an 11-3 run by the Pacers, thanks to a combined nine points from Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Hill. But Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas bolstered Boston’s scoring to close out the first half with 19 points and 15 points, respectively, and provided the Celtics with a 57-49 lead at halftime.
Paul George, limited to just 1-of-7 from the field in the first half for four points, exploded in the third quarter, scoring 17 of his team’s 27 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including a ridiculously deep 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 7:53 remaining in the third. As impressive as George’s play was, the third quarter was capped off by the efforts of Monta Ellis. After receiving a delay of game warning for his visible displeasure with a traveling call, Ellis properly channeled his emotions into a coast-to-coast layup and a gritty floor-dive in which he tapped the ball to Myles Turner for a layup and a foul. The Pacers closed out the third quarter on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to just two points, 76-78, entering the fourth quarter.
While Ian Mahinmi’s production was not limited by his foul trouble, as he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals, his time on the court was, opening a window for Jordan Hill to shine. Hill scored the Pacers’ first six points of the fourth quarter on two hook shots and a mid-range jumper, en route to a 10-point, 8-rebound performance.
But late mistakes by the Pacers, in particular four consecutive turnovers in the span of about 95 seconds that all led to Celtics’ fast-break layups, ultimately ended the Pacers’ chances of capturing their first win in the second night of back-to-back games this season.
“That’s unrecoverable,” said Vogel, referring to the Pacers’ four turnovers down the stretch. “That was the game.”
“They played great defense down the stretch,” said Ellis.
“You get the crowd involved,” said George, “and that gave them so much energy that they were just playing a frantic style of play, and it’s hard to win in this building, especially when the crowd was involved like the way it was. It just took us out of what we wanted to do.”
Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder continued their scoring onslaught in the second half, as they finished with 28 points and 25 points, respectively. Amir Johnson manned the post effectively in an all-around productive performance for Boston, finishing with 14 points, 18 rebounds (eight offensive), and six assists. Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk each added 11 points for the Celtics.
George led the Pacers in scoring with 23 points, and added eight rebounds and four assists. George Hill finished with 13 points. Monta Ellis added 12 points and four assists.
Inside the Numbers
- After allowing the Celtics to shoot nearly 49 percent in the first half, the Pacers improved their defense, holding Boston to just 40 percent shooting in the second half.
- The Pacers hit just five of their 30 3-point attempts, while Boston hit 9-of-36 from beyond the arc. The Pacers are now 6-7 on the season when hitting fewer three pointers than their opponent.
- Both teams rank in the top five in the league in steals. The Pacers collected 12 steals to Boston’s seven.
- The Pacers are now 15-7 on the season when finishing with fewer turnovers (17) than their opponent (19).
- The Celtics dished out 24 assists to the Pacers’ 18, and outscored the Pacers on the fast-break, 23-9.
- The Pacers are now 11-10 on the season when their bench scores at least 30 points, and 12-6 when their bench (36) outscores the opponent (21).
You Can Quote Me On That
“Got to give them (Celtics) credit for getting up and pressuring us, that’s what they do. That’s what it comes down to with us, trying to win these close games we got to execute every detail on the offensive end, we got to get the ball where we want to get the ball, deep cut, break open, set our screens and take care of the basketball. We didn’t do that tonight and it cost us.” – Vogel
“Every game you lose you didn’t finish. But we got to work on executing in the fourth quarter.” – Vogel
“They were more aggressive and we didn’t play tough enough to get to our spots. We should have been more physical, getting the ball where we want it and executing down the stretch.” – George
“It came down to making plays and we turned the ball over, they made plays and came out with a win.” – Ellis
“It was a game of runs. They’re a hard team to guard. Paul George—really special. And our defense, those four layups or whatever—or three layups, whatever it was—were the turning point for us.” – Stevens
“The main thing is, we were just hungry for a win. We got down a couple games on the road. We definitely wanted to get this game tonight.” – Amir Johnson
Stat of the Night
Paul George posted his twelfth double-figure-scoring third quarter of the season tonight, notching 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting.