For one half, the Celtics were pulling off a very Miami-like performance. They faced a team that clearly felt they were entitled a win and made them pay for it. The Celtics went into the half with a 50-42 lead, fresh off a banked-in-three from Jordan Crawford, who was perfect in the first half for 19 points, and feeling good.
Then the third quarter happened.
Suddenly, the ball movement stopped for the Celtics. The offense stagnated in part because the Celtics decided to play iso-ball, in part because the Pacers turned up the defense (and offense for that matter).
The third quarter was as bad as it gets. The Celtics shot 3-14 and had 11 turnovers in an 8 point quarter. The 4th wasn’t much better, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as that. C’s fall to Indy 97-82.
Jordan Crawford’s first half was an amazing display of offense, some of which made me laugh very heartily. He could have shot it from anywhere on the floor and it would have gone in. His second half was nowhere near as good, but it was damn near impossible to keep up that first half performance. It was amazing to watch.
Jared Sullinger is the Celtics best player right now. He’s just consistently good. He had 13 and 5 on 50% shooting, but he was a big reason Roy Hibbert was uncomfortable for a lot of this game. I was afraid Hibbert would have a 30/20 game, but Sully dug in, used his lower body strength, and made sure Hibbert never got going. Hibbert didn’t look like a guy who cared to be there anyway, and Sully made sure Hibbert would never be able to turn it on.
Jeff Green seemed to have an “oh by the way” good game. 20 points on 61.5% shooting and decent defense on Paul George in the first half. George sprung free in the second half, but the Pacers did a good job at forcing switches, so that wasn’t all Green’s fault. Plus, George is really, really good, so he wasn’t going to be held down for long.
Turnovers. Ugh. 23 of them leading to 30 Pacers points. That’s disgusting. 16 of them, for 23 Pacers points, came in the second half.
Paul George went for 22 in the second half alone.
That third quarter was abysmal. The Pacers are a notorious second half team this year, so a third quarter surge wasn’t all that surprising, but the Celtics did plenty to help the Pacers along. I sort of feel that everyone felt Crawford had it going, and there was a lot of standing around and watching. And as much as I get “feeding the hot hand,” there’s an organic way to do it. You really have to move the ball and get guys open to get their shots and then let Crawford find the 5 or 6 opportunities to get his shot. When you let the defense just key on one guy without moving and helping him out, then he’s screwed.
Gerald Wallace had 5 turnovers tonight, and he might have been spared a few more. He made some bad decisions with the ball out there. I hope he keeps his mouth shut tonight.
Kelly Olynyk played 12:14 before leaving with a sprained ankle. He didn’t return. It’s not serious, but he’s questionable for tomorrow.
Gerald Wallace shows some hustle and gets the chase-down block
- Lance Stephenson: 10 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists
- David West: 17 points (7-14 fg), 8 rebounds
- West in the second half: 12 points (6-11 fg) 5 rebounds
- Paul George: 27 points (9-20 fg)
- George in the second half: 22 points (7-13 fg)
- Points in the paint: First half: 26-16 Celtics. Second half: 28-10 Pacers
- Fast Break points: 21-10 Pacers
Now the Celtics get to hop on a plane and fly to Atlanta. At 8-5 the Hawks are the third best team in the East… a conference that only has three winning teams.
And for those who are relishing the Nets loss because the Celtics hold their 2014 pick, I must remind you that Atlanta gets to switch places with Brooklyn in the upcoming draft thanks to the Joe Johnson trade. So Boston needs Atlanta to suck too. That kind of makes tomorrow night’s game an early must-win, even if you’re a tanking fan.