Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Celtics 91
When the second half began at TD Garden in Boston, the Celtics raced out to an 11-2 run to take a seven-point lead over Indiana. It looked as though the Pacers might be in trouble against the same Celtics squad they topped just a week ago.
But after withstanding the offensive onslaught, Paul George answered with nine consecutive points to rocket the Pacers (5-4) back into the lead, one they did not relinquish for the remainder of the night, as they cruised to a 102-91 road victory on Wednesday night.
George, who reached 26 points for the fifth consecutive game, was on all evening, going 10-of-22 from the field for his team-high 26 points. Among those scores were last-second jumpers to close out the first and second quarters.
“I think he’s playing phenomenal right now,” said George Hill of PG. “I think he’s doing a good job of leading us. I think everyone’s doing a good job feeding off his energy also. But we know that if we’re in a tight spot or need a playmaker, it’s always good to know that you got that guy in your corner as one of the best in the league.”
Coming off the bench, Jordan Hill continued his strong play with 12 points and eight boards. He even passed out a smooth assist to his college teammate Chase Budinger for a 3-pointer. Budinger added a season-high 10 off the bench, one of which came on a two-handed alley-oop from George Hill.
“There’s no question, Those are energizing plays,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “They lift up your defense, and it works the other way too. Defensive pressure, we’re trying to get more defensive pressure to create situations like that.”
Boston, who was on the second night of a back-to-back, shot just 4-of-24 from beyond the arc. The Pacers did the majority of their damage inside, piling up 50 points in the paint.
For Indiana, the first half featured some good play but also an unfortunate injury. The Blue & Gold used scoring runs of 6-0 and 9-0 to build a lead. But unfortunately, rookie Myles Turner left the game with a sprained thumb and did not return.
The Celtics, however, weren’t ready to go down easy on their home court, breaking out a 10-3 run that would’ve tied things up at the break had it not been for PG’s lead-grabbing jumper with just seconds remaining in the quarter.
Former Pacers trade acquisition Evan Turner had a strong game, scoring 20 points for Boston and helping the C’s break off the 11-2 run that started the second half. But late in the fourth quarter, the Celtics continued to miss shots and turn the ball over, leading to a 12-4 Pacers run over the final seven minutes of play.
It was the second game in a row that the Pacers used a dominating run in the closing minutes to secure a win and their second win against the Celtics in a week. After a 0-3 start to the season, Indiana has now won five of its last six games.
“I’m not surprised that this is a good team that’s giving us fits,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I think they’re going to give a lot of people fits.”
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers outscored the Celtics in every quarter except the second.
Jordan Hill’s +19 was the team-high +/-
Paul George’s 26-point, 10-rebound performance gave him his team-leading fifth double-double
What They’re Saying
“All of them were pretty tough; Monta, George (Paul). I have high respect for each one of those players. It was pretty tough but you are in the league that is something that you want to take the challenge on.” -Celtics guard Evan Turner
“You know, I think Monta on any given night, is capable for 30 (points). And sometimes he’s going to be a playmaker. Eight assists last week, a bunch tonight. I think he’s a threat and a weapon out there.” -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
“My skill set, everything’s been there. I’ve been working out the whole time. Just a year away from the game, I was able to rehab and really just focus on myself. But I’m still trying to gain some of it back physically – not all the way there.” -Paul George
Stat of the Night
Paul George has now scored 26 points or more in five consecutive games, the longest streak of his career. His previous high was three games in February of 2014.
- The Pacers have won their first two games against the Celtics this season. Indiana went 1-3 in its season series with Boston last year.
- Rodney Stuckey (sprained ankle) did not play.
- Indiana blocked six shots and grabbed nine steals.
- Boston only scored nine fast-break points the entire game.
@by Greg Rappaport