Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:30 PM ET at TD Garden
Game Rewind: Pacers 97, Celtics 82
Scott Agness | November 22, 2013
The Pacers met the Celtics in Boston Friday night, marking the first time Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, a Zionsville native and former Butler leader, coached against his hometown team. He even wore No. 31 in high school because he grew up watching Reggie Miller. However it was the Pacers (11-1) – the best Pacers team Stevens said he’s seen in his lifetime – that turned up the defense and strangled the Celtics (4-10) in second half for the 97-82 victory.
Without any real threat in the frontcourt, it looked like the Pacers would have their way with the Celtics inside the paint. That wasn’t the case early on. The Celtics, who lost their previous five games, made 60 percent of their field goals against the NBA’s best defense and scored 14 points in the paint. The Pacers had seven different players score in the first and their deficit at the end of the period was three.
C.J. Watson missed the game due to an upper respiratory infection, which meant Donald Sloan would get some time. Lance Stephenson picked up the slack with a second unit that wasn’t used to playing with one another. He scored, delegated and kept his composure. Both team’s bench had their share of problems, taking care of the ball most troubling, but the hot shooting continued for the Celtics. Former Indiana and Xavier standout Jordan Crawford capped a perfect half – 8-for-8 shooting for a season-high 19 points – by banking in a 3-pointer from 31 feet out to give the Celtics, who shot 59% through two quarters, a 50-42 halftime lead.
The Pacers’ strength this season, beyond their defensive play, has been their adjustments in the locker room. They are the most productive second-half team in the NBA. Yet again, they had their way in this one. They put consecutive stops together, forced 11 turnovers and held the Celtics to 3-for-13 shooting. David West scored 10 in the quarter, outscoring the Celtics by two points alone, as the Pacers closed the quarter on a 12-2 run and dominated the period 25-8 to pull ahead 67-58.
Paul George, who was held to just five points in the first half, scored 14 of his game-high 27 in the fourth quarter, including a dunk with 4:58 remaining, which gave Stephenson his 10th assist and ensured him of his second career triple-double. It was just 11 days ago, against the Memphis Grizzlies, that he had his first. 366 days ago, Roy Hibbert recorded his first and both West and George would follow.
The Pacers, who had lost 13 of their last 15 times in Boston and their last four to the Celtics, were successful on this two-game road trip to the Northeast and they’ll now return home to play the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night.
Inside the Numbers
Lance Stephenson’s triple-double – 10 points, 11 rebounds, which tied his career high and 10 assists – is his second of the year and the only player in the league to have multiple ones this season. He also had a season-high four steals and just one turnover in 42 minutes.
Like clockwork, Paul George tallied 27 points to lead all scorers. Indiana’s power forwards, David West and Luis Scola each scored 17, a new season high (on 7-of-9 shooting) for the Argentinean.
Jordan Crawford guided the Celtics with 24 points, 19 of which were scored in the opening half. Jeff Green finished with 20 and Jared Sullinger dropped 13.
After scoring 26 points in the paint through two quarters, the Celtics were outscored by the Pacers 28-10 in the second half.
The Celtics were just the second opponent to shoot better than 50 percent on the Pacers. The only other time was a loss in Chicago.
The Pacers were +8 at the free throw line, attempting two times as many foul shots (18) than the Celtics.
“I’m really proud of our guys’ effort, particularly in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, how we buckled down on the defensive end. Our starters, as a unit, have a gear defensively that they can reach that’s pretty special. They hit that in the third and took control of the game.” – Frank Vogel
“We don’t want to be down at halftime. I know that. But we know that they work the game, they grind and get a feel for the opponent, who’s going. Jordan Crawford didn’t miss a shot in the first half. A lot of them were well guarded shots, and our team just buckled down in the second half.” – Vogel
“Whatever the circumstances is in the first half, that’s the time for us to reevaluate what’s going on throughout the game. We watch film. We really are dialed in at film. We’re on each other. … We just came together as a unit and collectively come out and really pressure up.” – Paul George on their defense in the third quarter
“I just try to be very aggressive. I think it’s more my teammates hitting open shots. I just try to create for them and getting them in a position where they can hit that open shot that they like to shoot.” – Lance Stephenson
“We need to stop that. I think we need to come out and destroy teams early. We can’t rely on the second half to win the game. So, I don’t think that’s a good thing that we wait until the second half to get ready and win the game.” – Stephenson on falling behind early
Stat of the Game
The Pacers forced 23 Boston turnovers, 16 in the second half alone, and converted them into 30 points.
- Celtics center Kelly Olynyk sustained a sprained right ankle in the first half and didn’t return.
Saturday, Nov. 23 vs Philadelphia – 7:00 p.m. EST. Secure your seats for this exciting matchup »