Notebook: Celtics 94, Pacers 75



Posted Jan 5, 2013 12:11 AM

Brian Robb, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Boston Celtics bounced back from a slow offensive start and dominated the Indiana Pacers for the final three quarters, cruising to a 94-75 win at the TD Garden. Rajon Rondo scored a team-high 18 points in the victory, as the Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak, largely thanks to their stifling defense. The hosts played a physical brand of basketball as they limited the Pacers to a paltry 31.8 percent from the field. Tyler Hansbrough had a game-high 19 points off the bench for the visitors who dropped just their third contest over the past 12 games. Kevin Garnett also scored 18 points for the victors, but was ejected in the fourth quarter after being assessed a flagrant two for hitting Hansbrough in the face while trying to knock the ball away.

QUOTABLE: "You know, since we've been in this funk, Doc's been saying that through out this tough ordeal that we have to continue to play defense no matter what we're doing. Offense can not dictate defense. I feel like for the most part we did just that."
-- Garnett

THE STAT: After starting the game shooting a mere 7-for-24 from the field (29.2 percent), the Celtics offense was firing on all cylinders for the remaining 36 minutes against one of the top defensive teams in the league. Over those final three quarters, Boston shot 50.8 percent from the field, posting 79 points in a balanced scoring effort.

TURNING POINT: After trailing 20-19 early in the second quarter, Boston jumped out to a 17-3 run behind the energy of Rondo pushing the ball off Indiana's frequent misses. The outburst gave the Celtics a double-digit lead they never relinquished as they continued to clamp down defensively against the Pacers for the remainder of the contest.

QUOTABLE II: ""I give credit to Boston's defense and bouncing back out of their slump. You know, we knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew they got championship level people over there with great pride and great experience, great know how. And you know it was only a matter of time before their defense bounced back, and it bounced back in a big way tonight."
-- Frank Vogel

HOT: Rondo.The All-Star point guard shook off a sore right hip injury which had limited him over the past two games and attacked relentlessy in the first half, scoring 12 of his 18 points before intermission on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.

NOT: Paul George. The 6'10'' small forward scored in single digits for the Pacers for just the third time all season against a frisky Celtics defense. George finished with nine points on 4-of-18 shooting, went scoreless from beyond the arc, and tied a team-high with three turnovers.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Paul Pierce. Boston's captain stuffed the box score with production nearly everywhere on the floor. The veteran small forward posted 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, along with a steal and a block over 29 minutes of action.

ROOKIE WATCH: Jared Sullinger. The undersized power forward continues to rebound as well as nearly anyone on the Celtics and has been rewarded with additional playing time with the starters because of his effort. Unfortunately for Sullinger, he also continues to battle whistles from the referees for his physical play as he fouled out in just 28 minutes of action against Indiana, while posting seven points and 10 rebounds. The 20-year-old has fouled out in four of his last seven games overall.

NOTABLE: George Hill did not play for the third straight game due to a sore right groin. D.J. Augustin started in his place. Indiana's 75 points was the team's lowest scoring output of the season. Doc Rivers switched his team's starting lineup before the game, starting Brandon Bass in place of Jason Collins. It was Boston's ninth starting lineup of the season. ... Sam Young sat out with sprained left ankle.

UP NEXT: For Indiana, Saturday vs. Milwaukee, Tuesday vs. Miami, Thursday vs. New York. For Boston, Saturday @ Atlanta, Monday @ New York, Wednesday vs. Phoenix.