Pacers 94, Celtics 103
When the Celtics headed into halftime down by 15 points, it looked as if tonight was going to hold their most disappointing loss of the season. The team looked complacent, shots weren't falling and the Indiana Pacers were dictating the game at both ends of the court.
But that was just the first half.
What happened in the second half, specifically over the first 7:15 of the third period, was utterly ridiculous. Boston slowly chipped away at that 15-point deficit, lowering it to eight with 8:42 remaining in the third with a Kendrick Perkins put-back layup. It soon went back up to 12, but that's when the little grasp Indiana had on this game slowly dissipated.
Ray Allen was fouled on a 3-pinter and made all of his shots from the stripe, then hit a triple from behind the arc to cut the Pacers' lead to four with 6:41 remaining. After Perkins blocked a Roy Hibbert shot at the other end, Paul Pierce took the ball to the rack and wound up making two free throws to slice that deficit in half. It was an impressive run at that point, but when Pierce came down court and drilled a three just seconds later to put Boston up by one at the 4:45 mark, there was utter pandemonium in the TD Garden.
All in all, the C's were +16 on the scoreboard just 7:15 into the third quarter. The Pacers were clearly frustrated with their performance and Boston rode their momentum from there. It wasn't the prettiest win in the world, but what happened in the third and fourth quarters of tonight's game showed the grit and grind that championship-caliber teams need to possess.
Key Box Score Line
It wasn't just Kendrick Perkins' 19 points that helped Boston pull off their impressive comeback. It was his hustle. It was his determination. It was his defense. Simply put, Perkins wasn't going to let his team lose. He finished with four blocks on the night, three of which came in the second half, and his all-out play at both ends of the floor played a huge role in helping the C's gain momentum in the second half.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.
- Boston shot only 38.0 percent from the field (30-of-79).
- The Celtics forced Indiana into 22 turnovers, compared to their 12.
- Ray Allen scored a team-high 23 points.
- Earl Watson scored 18 points in the first half and zero points in the second half.
- Neither team scored more than 30 points in the paint.
- Boston scored 21 points in both the first and second quarters.
- Rasheed Wallace, filling in at Kevin Garnett's starting power forward spot, grabbed 13 rebounds.
- Rajon Rondo (six), Paul Pierce (five) and Rasheed Wallace (three) combined for 14 steals.
- Boston had an unbelievable night from the free throw line, making 37 of their 40 attempts.
- Troy Murphy had an outstanding game for Indiana, finishing with game-highs of 24 points and 18 rebounds.
- Three Indiana starters failed to score more than eight points.
Quote of the Night
Indiana Pacers Head Coach Jim O'Brien on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen's play down the stretch: "They're great players. They're both All-Stars. They have three All-Stars on the court. We don't have any All-Stars on the court. Sometimes that's why teams come back."