I'm not sure what Doc Rivers told the troops at halftime, but it clearly worked. Down 15 at the half, the Celtics clamped down defensively in the 3rd and 4th quarters and beat the Pacers, 103-94.
Abysmal. Atrocious. Wretched. Putrid. Any of those words appropriately describe the Celtics play in the first half.
Pacers PG Earl Watson had 18 points (6-10 FG, 3-5 3FG) in the first half. Rondo was playing defense like Sherm Douglas.
The starters came out with zero intensity/effort. The undermanned bench (remember Sheed was starting for KG) played well, especially Eddie House (10 points, 4-4 FG in first half). But when the starters returned to the floor midway through the 2nd, the Pacers closed the quarter with a 16-4 run to take the 57-42 lead into the half.
The Celtics looked like a different team after halftime. They outscored Indiana 35-20 in the 3rd. Perk had 13 points in the quarter, Ray Allen with 11.
The defense was swarming. Rajon Rondo (15 points, 9 assists, 6 steals), Paul Pierce (21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals) and Kendrick Perkins (19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks) made big play after big play. Ray Allen (23 points, 7 rebounds) also deserves a mention for his deflections and hustle.
Pierce would not be denied offensively in the 4th quarter. He had 14 of his 21 in the final 12 minutes.
Remember Earl Watson? He was 0-for-3 from the floor with zero points in the second half.
Rasheed Wallace (9 points, 13 rebounds) suffered a shoulder stinger in the 2nd half. He returned to the game after getting treatment, but it clearly bothered him the rest of the game.
Troy Murphy (24 points, 18 rebounds) killed the Celtics.
One of the worst calls in the history of organized basketball was made with 2:41 left in the game. Perk was whistled for an offensive foul on a clean screen. To compund the mistake, the whistle was blown about 2 seconds after the pick was set. Awful…