Poll the people who watched Boston’s 94-75 win over Indiana Friday night about what the Key Moment of the game was. About 99 percent of the responders will answer by telling you it was the Celtics’ big 17-4 run in the second quarter, which propelled them to a 42-27 lead.
Doc Rivers is in the minority with his answer to that poll. He believes another stretch was the key to this game, and that stretch had nothing to do with scoring the basketball.
“I thought the biggest stretch in the game was the first eight minutes when we couldn’t buy a shot, really, yet we were still right there and we did it with our defense,” Rivers said.
Couldn’t buy a bucket is right. Boston began the game by shooting 3-for-12 from the field. As Rivers noted, that didn’t affect the team’s chances of winning the game. The C’s and Pacers were tied up at 10-10 with 4:27 remaining in the first quarter before Boston turned it up and took the lead for good in the second frame.
Key Box Score Line
It’s blatantly obvious that the Boston Celtics are excited to have Avery Bradley back in the lineup, but Rajon Rondo might be the happiest man of them all. As Doc Rivers explained after Friday’s game, Bradley’s presence makes life much easier on Rondo.
“I think [having Bradley with Rondo] has worked, because [Rondo] doesn’t have to guard the ball up and down the floor every single time,” Rivers said. “Point guard is hard. You’ve gotta guard the ball, then you’ve gotta bring it up under pressure. And so when you have another guy that you can say, ‘You guard the ball and I’ll just run back,’ that gives you a lot of juice.”
That extra juice helped Rondo run circles around Indiana’s guards. He played less than 30 minutes on the night yet still tied for the team high in scoring with 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Rondo also pitched in five rebounds, seven assists and two steals during his short stint on the floor.
These weren’t extraordinary numbers for Rondo. We all understand that. But what also must be understood is that had he played his standard 38 minutes tonight, he probably would have approached a triple-double.
Box Score Nuggets
- Indiana did not score more than 19 points in any of the first three quarters, while the Celtics scored at least 22 in each of the final three quarters.
- The Celtics were whistled for 28 personal fouls in the game.
- Jared Sullinger fouled out of his second consecutive game but still tied for the game high in rebounds with 10.
- The teams combined for 43 personal fouls, 33 turnovers and a 27-of-46 free throw total.
- Boston outrebounded Indiana, the fifth-best rebounding team in the league, 49-47.
- The Pacers shot just 31.8 percent from the field.
- Tyler Hansbrough scored a game-high 19 points.
- Indiana totaled just 14 assists.
- Courtney Lee came off of the bench to log 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
- Kevin Garnett, who tied for the team high in scoring with 18 points, was ejected in the fourth quarter for a Flagrant 2 foul.
- Indiana was whistled for three technical fouls.
- David West and Roy Hibbert grabbed 10 rebounds apiece.
- Sullinger grabbed a game-high six offensive rebounds.
- Indiana attempted more free throws (28) than it made field goals (27).
Quote of the Night
There was so much crap going on at that point, I just think [referee James Capers] has been around the league a long time and I think he was thinking, ‘I’m going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of here.’ Because it was getting chippy. Doc Rivers on Kevin Garnett's ejection after being called for a Flagrant 2 foul