Ford Keys to the Game: Pacers 88, Celtics 99
Pacers 88, Celtics 99
A team like the Indiana Pacers, which is trying to establish itself as a playoff team, had to be delighted with the fact that it was in a four-point game with the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It was a battle to that point, no doubt, but the C’s weren’t interested in allowing their 12-game winning streak to come to and end.
As we’ve come to learn this season, and for the past few years in general, when this Celtics team puts its mind to something, it’s nearly impossible to stop. That’s what happened this afternoon when Glen Davis caught fire and Boston’s defense turned up the heat.
A four-point Boston lead quickly turned into a 13-point advantage thanks in large part to Davis’ hot shooting from the perimeter. Boston staged a 14-7 run to close out the game and Big Baby accounted for eight of the points in that span. All four of his buckets were midrange jumpers, and they were all no-doubters.
While Davis led the Celtics’ offense, Indiana couldn’t muster anything up at the other end of the court against Boston’s staunch defense. The Pacers shot just 1-of-10 from the floor over the final 5:44 of the game.
The combination of crunch time defense from Boston and a hot hand from Davis was simply too much for Indiana to match, and in the end the Celtics extended their winning streak to 13 games with a 99-88 win.
Key Box Score Line
Doc Rivers called him a chameleon, but we’ll just call him the captain. Paul Pierce is the do-it-all guy for the Boston Celtics, and he proved as much yet again this afternoon.
With Rajon Rondo on the sideline nursing his sprained left ankle, the C’s have been left without a true point guard on the roster. As Rivers said after today’s game, Nate Robinson is a guard, not a point guard. And so the Celtics have been forced to rely on Pierce to deliver results in a point-forward role. Needless to say, the savvy vet is flourishing in his short-term job.
Pierce recorded his second consecutive double-digit assist game this afternoon by dishing out season-high 12 dimes to his teammates. That assist total was just one third of his triple-double performance that also included 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Sunday’s performance by Pierce was the first triple-double he has notched since March 8, 2006. He was willing to step out of his standard role of leading scorer in order to help facilitate the offense this afternoon, and that’s a typical trait of Boston’s a chameleonic captain.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three Celtics (Paul Pierce, Glen Davis and Nate Robinson) tied for the team-high in scoring with 18 points.
- Six Pacers finished the game with two fouls.
- Pierce's triple-double night consisted of 18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals.
- Ray Allen also flirted with a triple-double with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.
- Both teams attempted 18 free throws, with Indiana making 16 and Boston making 14.
- The teams combined to shoot 7-of-32 from 3-point range (4-of-18 for Indiana, 3-of-14 for Boston).
- The Celtics scored 30 points in both the first quarter and the fourth quarter.
- Danny Granger scored a game-high 19 points.
- Roy Hibbert scored 17 for Indiana to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds.
- Granger scored his game-high 19 points on 20 field goal attempts, while Pierce scored his team-high 18 points on eight field goal attempts.
- Two Pacers (Granger and Hibbert) attempted at least 20 shots, while no Celtic attempted more than 16.
- All of Shaquille O'Neal's 11 points came in the first quarter.
- Kevin Garnett failed to reach double-figures in points or rebounds for just the third time this season.
- Boston attempted 20 less shots (76) than Indiana (96) but made seven more.
- Both teams had five players finish in double-figures in the scoring column.
- Four technical fouls were whistled in the game.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Shaquille O'Neal's alley-oop dunk from Paul Pierce: "I think that alley-oop probably set him back five years. It was terrific. I’ve got to tell you, when Paul threw the pass, I thought no, there was just no way. And he not only caught it but he finished it."