Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 86, Pacers 72
Celtics 86, Pacers 72
The Indiana Pacers went scoreless for the first 6:50 of the second quarter of Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics only scored 12 points of their own during that stretch, but it was just enough to help Boston head out of Indiana with a very impressive victory.
Boston sliced a game off of Indiana’s lead for the third seed in the East and made sure it would head into tomorrow’s game against the 76ers with at least a one-game advantage atop the Atlantic Division.
The C’s got to this point thanks to their stout defense to start the second period. They forced Indiana into 10 consecutive misses and three turnovers during those first six-plus minutes. It was an ugly offensive display by the Pacers, but the Celtics forced it to happen.
Boston only put home 12 points during that stretch, but it was enough to open up a 17-point advantage. It had control of the contest from that point on, as the lead hovered around double-digits for the remainder of the night.
With the big victory in Indiana, the Celtics are now within 2.5 games of the Pacers for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They snapped their emotional two-game losing streak and now head into a big Easter Sunday showdown with Philadelphia on a high note.
Key Box Score Line
Don’t mess around with Greg Stiemsma. You might just get your shot blocked... a lot.
Stiemsma, now known by many as “Steamer,” had what may be the best overall game of his career tonight in Indiana. He nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds in just less than 27 minutes of play. Those numbers don’t even come close to telling his whole story.
The big man out of Wisconsin was perfect on the night shooting the basketball. He made all four of his field goal attempts and both of his free throws. And while he was maintaining perfection at one end, Stiemsma was shutting down the Pacers at the other end.
Stiemsma finished tonight’s game with five monster blocks, falling just one block shy of his career high number of six. His five blocks matched the number of rejetions the entire Pacers team recorded tonight.
It has been incredible to watch Stiemsma’s development this season, and he just continues to get better and better. The Pacers learned tonight that he is not someone you want to rile up.
Box Score Nuggets
- Rajon Rondo dished out 12 assists, taking his double-digit assist streak to 16 games, which is the longest such streak in 20 years.
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points.
- Ray Allen scored 19 points off the bench, including a game-high five 3-pointers.
- The Celtics led by as many as 17 points.
- Indiana shot just 35.1 percent from the field.
- Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points.
- Greg Stiemsma finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
- Boston dished out 27 assists, compared to just 11 by Indiana.
- Roy Hibbert grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds.
- The Celtics made four more 3-pointers than Indiana did while attempting four less.
- Boston shot 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.
- Two of Boston's reserves, Allen (19 points) and Stiemsma (10 points) nearly outscored Indiana's bench (12 total points) by themselves.
- This was the third consecutive game in which Boston has scored exactly 86 points.
- Three of Boston's starters scored four points apiece or less.