Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 83, Pacers 97
Celtics 83, Pacers 97
Putting points on the scoreboard has been the Achilles' heel of the Boston Celtics this season. On Saturday night in Indiana, that issue rose up again and led the Celtics to their fourth consecutive loss.
Boston had trailed for nearly the entire game but the Pacers were unable to completely put the game away until the final minutes of the third quarter. That’s when the Celtics went through their toughest shooting stretch of the game.
The Pacers led 69-60 after Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 6:17 left in the third, helping to keep Boston’s hopes alive. But Indiana answered that shot with a 9-0 run that put the game away.
Darren Collison was the sparkplug of that run, as he scored the first four points via a 22-foot jumper and an easy driving layup. Danny Granger then scored the next five points of the game with a mid-range jumper, which came after an offensive rebound by David West, and then a big 26-foot 3-pointer that put the game away.
All of those baskets combined to put Indiana ahead 78-60 with 1:43 left in the third quarter. The game was completely out of reach at that point for a Celtics team that was not able to shoot better than 40.9 percent from the floor in any of the four quarters. While Indiana made its run, the Celtics missed 10 consecutive shots, which nearly guaranteed them their fourth consecutive loss.
Key Box Score Line
Kevin Garnett logged 34 tough minutes against the Chicago Bulls Friday night and was given the task of taking on a physical and athletic Indiana frontline tonight. He could have easily struggled against this Pacers team, but instead he actually asserted himself as an aggressor.
Garnett came out of the blocks with an offensive aggression that he has not shown this season. The very first play of the game was called for him, and that was a trend-setter. He tied Danny Granger for the game high in field goal attempts with 19, and he made 10 of those shots en route to 21 points. That point tally tied Paul Pierce and Granger for the game high. On top of the solid shooting, KG also pulled in five boards on the night.
It definitely wasn’t Garnett’s best all around game of the season, but it was by far his best offensive performance. He was aggressive from the opening tip, and that’s exactly what Doc Rivers and the Celtics want to see on a consistent basis.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Danny Granger tied for the game-high in scoring with 21 points apiece.
- Indiana grabbed 20 offensive rebounds that led to 23 second-chance points.
- Brandon Bass came off the bench to log 10 points and eight rebounds.
- Bass was the only reserve in the game to score in double-figures.
- Paul George and Darren Collison each scored 17 points for Indiana.
- Boston (38.6 percent) actually outshot Indiana (37.2 percent) from the field.
- Rajon Rondo's nine assists were more than double that of any other player in the game.
- Jermaine O'Neal grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in less than 26 minutes of playing time.
- Both teams made five 3-pointers.
- Pierce made nine of 10 free throws.
- Granger was the only Pacers player to play more than 32 minutes. On the contrary, three of Boston's starters played at least 33:36.
- E'Twaun Moore finished with seven points, two rebounds and three assists in 20:14 of playing time.
- Indiana shot 22-of-23 from the free-throw line.
- JaJuan Johnson (plus-four) was the only Celtics player to finish with a positive plus/minus rating.
- Garnett had his shot blocked four times.
Quote of the Night
Paul Pierce on whether there were some positives to take from this game: "You can take positives from pretty much every game, but when you lose, a lot of the negatives are going to outweigh the positives."