Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 81, BOS 83
by Scott Agness | March 6, 2013 | Updated March 7, 1:49 AM
The Pacers had the Boston Celtics right where they wanted. George Hill had just rattled off eight straight points and Paul George’s three-pointer gave the Pacers a nine-point lead with 4:35 remaining. From there, the Pacers (38-23) would produce nothing offensively – seven missed shots, three turnovers – and gave up 11 straight points to end the game, including a layup from Jeff Green, who slipped inside the lane, for the win.
The Celtics (33-27) edged the Pacers by a final of 83-81, for their fourth consecutive victory.
Montieth: Montieth: Communication Key in Loss »
Unlike their meeting last meeting in January, the game got off to a rampant start. For the Celtics, forward Kevin Garnett connected on his first three field goals, including a three-pointer at the top of the key — his first of the season. Roy Hibbert, who’s returned to his All-Star form over the last seven games, was the leader at the other end. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first eight minutes. The only thing that slowed him down were personal fouls. After picking up his second, he had to take a seat on the bench. The Pacers ended the first on a 7-0 run to take an eight-point lead into the second.
After making 50 percent of their shots in the opening quarter, the Pacers went cold in the second. They made only two attempts in the first seven minutes, both from rookie Orlando Johnson. The Celtics were within two until the Pacers once again ended the quarter strong and scored nine of the final 11 points of the half.
Lance Stephenson continued to thrive in the open court. He had a couple of steals and scored eight of his 12 points in the third. Stephenson’s big dunk powered the Pacers to their largest lead of the game, 14.
Down by 10, the Celtics outscored the Pacers, who missed their first nine shots in the final quarter, 11-2 to start the fourth and get to within one. Following a Pacers’ timeout, George Hill connected on back-to-back three-pointers and then a dunk in transition over a span of 62 seconds. Paul George pushed the Pacers’ lead to nine on a triple but then it was all Celtics after that.
Tied at 81 with 23.2 seconds left, Avery Bradley ran most of the time off before sending it to Garnett on the left elbow. West got caught up on a screen and Green slipped behind for the layup. With 0.5 seconds left and across midcourt, Hill’s pass intended for George in the lane was deflected and the Pacers collapsed down the stretch and fell at home, 83-81.
This one stings for a variety of reasons: 1) The Pacers gave up 14 points in the paint over the final 12 minutes, 2) they failed to score over the final four and half minutes, 3) communication breakdowns, and 4) not getting a win over a playoff team, ahead of two road games.
Inside the Numbers
All five Indiana starters scored in double figures, led by 16 from Paul George, who struggled with his shot (7-of-22). Lance Stephenson finished with 12 points, a career-high five steals, two assists and no turnovers in 35 minutes.
Both David West (11 points, 16 rebounds) and Roy Hibbert (12 points, 12 rebounds) recorded their 14th double-double this season. It was also Hibbert’s sixth straight game in double figures.
Kevin Garnett led the charge for the victorious Celtics. He scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and corralled 10 missed shots. Avery Bradley and Paul Pierce each had 13.
In games decided by three points or less this season, the Pacers drop to 3-8.
The Pacers are now 33-5 when leading after three quarters. Three of those losses came at home.
From behind the arc, the Pacers made just 6-of-27 (22 percent) of their tries.
“Part of the lesson you learn throughout an 82-game season is to win in the playoffs, you have to execute offensively down the stretch. We didn’t do that well enough tonight.” – Frank Vogel
“It was a great play drawn up my Doc (Rivers). They set a back screen with Pierce…and put David (West) in a tough situation.” – Frank Vogel on the last defensive play
“We just didn’t talk. I didn’t communicate. I think it was a back screen and Jeff Green curled off of it. We said switch everything and communication failed on that one.” – Paul George on the final defensive play.
“Midway through the third, I thought we just got out of sync and never were able to get a good rhythm back for the rest of the game…They were scoring, making too many plays. We weren’t able to get them off of their first option.” – David West
“They just took things away. We work on things in practice and the (play) is always there. I guess we got to start working a little bit more on when it’s not there. They crowded the airspace, made us do what they wanted us to do. Normally, we’re the team that hits first, but they hit first, second and third tonight.” – George Hill
“We just didn’t execute. They disguised a man-zone kind of defense and we couldn’t really find open looks or get to where guys can get easy shots. They really took us out of that and made us took jump shots.” – Paul George on their offensive struggles
Stat of the Game
The Celtics scored the final 11 points of the game and held the Pacers scoreless over the final 4:35.
- The Pacers have lost in their last four tries against the Celtics.
- The Celtics improve to 13-4 without Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL and is out for the season.
- Kevin Garnett and David West each received technical fouls late in the fourth quarter.
- The Pacers announced earlier Wednesday that Danny Granger would be out at least a week with above-average soreness in his left knee. An MRI showed no new damage.
- Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden and his owner Sarah Fisher, along with Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Co were in attendance.
The Pacers travel down south for a pair of games in Florida, first against the Orlando Magic on Friday at 7 PM EST.