Playing a second night on a back-to-back on the road against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference? Not a problem.
Jeff Green hits a lay-up with .5 seconds left on a beautiful play that was suggested by assistant coach Armond Hill and the Celtics steal one of their biggest wins of the year, 83-81.
The game happened exactly as you would’ve expected: a physical, ugly game with the Celtics struggling to do much offensively against the best defensive team in the NBA. All you could hope for was that the Celtics would be able to say in striking distance and put together a run in the fourth and sneak out with a victory.
Sure enough, the Pacers started the fourth ice cold and the Celtics were able to go on a 11-2 run to bring it down to 1. After a Pacers time out, George Hill scores 8 straight points and puts a kibosh to the C’s chance for a victory. Game over right?
NOPE. The Celtics were able to go on an 11-0 run, sparked by pressuring the ball, causing a couple turnovers and got some easy layups. Then Pierce hits a HUGE 3, Avery Bradley gets another easy bucket after a beautiful pass by Kevin Garnett and then that incredible play set up with Pierce playing decoy, Green was able to get open running to the basket and take this one. Let’s get to the 4 G’s:
The Green: Kevin Garnett. Even in limited minutes, KG was looking solid offensively. He started with seven point in the first four minutes of action, including his first three pointer of the year. He was the only Celtic who had a good night offensively, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-10 in 30 minutes. He also passed Wes Unseld of 10th all time in total rebounds.
The Gross: Points in the Paint. Sebastian mentioned it as a wild card in the game preview and rightfully so. The Pacers just kept attacking the rim early. They had 30 points in the paint in the first half, including 10 of Roy Hibbert’s 12 first quarter points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Doc was mixing in the zone trying to stifle it and admitted after the game it wasn’t effective. Thankfully the Pacers stopped feeding the big man (Hibbert did not score after the first) and continued to fall in love with the jumper (6-for-27 from downtown) which was huge in the Celtics coming back. Thanks Indy!
- The Celtics put up a fight on the boards, only getting out-rebounded by 3 (50-47)
- Celtics bench outscored the Pacers 29-16
- The Celtics only shot 41%, but it was so much better than the Pacers 36%
- Celtics held the Pacers scoreless for the last 4:35
The Celtics have now won four straight and one can only hope that they build on this victory and get the fourth seed and claim home-court for the first round. They face the Hawks on Friday.