Ford Keys to the Game: Pacers 80, Celtics 92
Pacers 80, Celtics 92
It was a borderline Gino Night in the Garden, and you know what that means – this one was over early.
The Celtics struggled to produce any form of offense in the first quarter of tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers, tallying only 15 points, but everything clicked in the second frame. Boston totaled 32 points in the second period that included a quick spurt of nine points that put this game away for the C’s.
Indiana trailed by four points with 3:34 remaining in the first half before Paul Pierce found his sharpshooting teammate, Ray Allen, for a 3-pointer that put the Celtics ahead by seven. Jeff Foster quickly answered back with a dunk for the Pacers at the other end, but Boston wasn’t done raining 3s.
The Celtics came back on their next possession and Rajon Rondo found Pierce for a 25-foot trey that bumped Boston’s lead back up to eight. Indiana went on to miss two quick shots at the other end, and Kevin Garnett came away with the final rebound that led to Boston’s ensuing fast break.
On that break, Pierce accepted the ball on the left wing and could have easily fired up another shot. Instead, he took a dribble, baited the defense into crashing in on him and then dropped off a dish to the wide open Allen behind the 3-point line. The league’s all-time 3-point king rose up to drill the 3 and put the C’s ahead by 11 points.
Indiana called an immediate timeout, but it was too late. Boston had scored nine points, all on 3s, in just 58 seconds and taken complete control of the game. The Pacers were unable to cut the lead down to below five points from there on out, and that meant the C’s grabbed a huge bounce back win against a team they may wind up seeing in round one of the playoffs.
Key Box Score Line
Boston’s bench was superb tonight, outscoring Indiana’s by a count of 39-24, and the key cog in that arsenal was Jeff Green. He came off the bench with a fury in the first half and scored 17 points in less than 13 minutes of play. He finished the night with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Green’s offensive explosion in the first half was followed by a quiet offensive second half, and that could have easily lulled the new Celtic into a rut over the final 24 minutes. But instead of searching for shots and forcing the issue, he continued to play team ball and picked up the energy on defense. He finished the night with a game-high three blocks, as many as the entire Pacers team, and two of those came on impressive defensive plays in the second half.
When the Celtics traded for Green, everyone knew they had added a dynamic scorer to come off of their bench. He proved that yet again tonight. What he also proved is that he can step it up on defense and be a force around the basket if his team needs it.
Box Score Nuggets
- In a very rare occasion, the Pacers scored exacty 20 points in all four quarters.
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
- Jeff Green came off the bench to score 19 points for the C's, four points more than any Indiana player.
- Green also blocked three shots, which equals the total of Indiana's entire team.
- The Pacers outproduced the Celtics in the following categories but still lost: points in the paint (40-34), second-chance points (16-9), fast break points (12-10), rebounds (49-36), field goals made (33-30) and assists (21-17).
- The two starting point guards combined for 17 assists and only three turnovers. Darren Collison had a game-high nine dimes with only one turnover, while Rajon Rondo recorded eight assists to his two turnovers.
- The game's only double-doubles came from Pacers players: Tyler Hansbrough had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Josh McRoberts had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
- Paul George and Roy Hibbert each grabbed seven rebounds apiece for Indiana.
- Glen Davis grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Celtics. He also scored nine points.
- Boston dominated the free throw category by making 26 of its 33 attempts, while Indiana shot just 9-of-13.
- Each team had five players score in double-figures.
- Each team grabbed five steals.
- Boston's bench outscored Indiana's 39-24.
- Both teams committed 15 turnovers.
- The Celtics blocked nine shots, while the Pacers blocked only three.
Quote of the Night
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel on Paul Pierce: "Paul Pierce, you know, I started out coaching him when he was a rookie. He’s come a long way, he’s a heck of a basketball player, too much for us tonight... I take all the credit (for his success), yes.”