Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
You’ve heard of "scoop and score" in football, right? Well, Wednesday’s matchup between Boston and Indiana was all about "steal and score" for the Celtics.
During crunch time of a one-possession game, three different Celtics combined for four critical steals that led to a 103-94 win over the visiting Pacers.
First was Jae Crowder, who, on the right wing, jumped out in front of a pass from Monta Ellis and picked it off to go the other way. He finished at the other end with a slam to bring the C’s within one point, at 92-91.
Indiana answered with a bucket and then Crowder missed a 3-pointer before the steals continued, this time via an unlikely source.
Amir Johnson, known much more for his blocks than his steals, stepped in at the top of the key to poke away yet another pass by Ellis. The ball dribbled itself down toward Boston’s basket and Johnson scooped it up for an uncontested slam to yet again make it a one-point game.
One would think that the Pacers would have learned their lesson about taking care of the ball, but that wasn’t the case in the least. Just 11 seconds after Johnson’s bucket, Marcus Smart stepped into a passing lane and intercepted an attempted pass from Ian Mahinmi. Smart, too, put home a bucket (though not a dunk) to give Boston a 95-94 lead and pop the roof off of the Garden.
Crowder selfishly wasn’t done. He liked this steal-and-score game, so he kept it alive.
This final steal of the night was of a different type. It wasn’t an interception, but more of a rip.
Paul George of the Pacers, who scored 23 points in the game, attempted to drive to the basket in transition but Crowder crashed in from the right wing to swipe down at the ball. He got a piece of the leather and knocked it loose, as the ball bounced its way out toward mid-court.
Crowder chased the loose ball down and was able to drop in a running layup with 58.2 seconds left on the clock. That bucket gave Boston a 99-94 lead and essentially put the cherry on top of a win.
Indiana failed to score over the final 2:13 of the game after leading 94-91. Boston, meanwhile, dropped in 12 straight points over the final 1:46 to steal the win – quite literally.
Jae Crowder didn’t lead Wednesday’s game in scoring. In fact, he didn’t lead the game in any major statistical category. But he was the man while leading the C’s to victory.
Crowder matched his career high by scoring 25 points against the Pacers. The performance marked the second time in six games in which he's notched that point total.
No player in the game was more efficient at the offensive end of the court than the 6-foot-6 forward. He made two more field goals than any other player in the game, yet three other players attempted more shots than he did. He finished the night having converted on 11 of his 15 field goal attempts and three of his six 3-pointers.
Boston outscored Indiana by 16 points during his 36-plus minutes of action. That number is due mostly to his incredible shooting performance, but also in part to his two steals. He ripped two critical steals over the final 2:31 of the game that led to easy scores at the other end.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three players in the game scored at least 23 points, led by 28 from Isaiah Thomas.
- Thomas has now scored 97 points over his last three games.
- Boston scored a whopping 36 points off of Indiana's 20 turnovers.
- Paul George led the Pacers with 23 points.
- Lavoy Allen, Indiana's starting power forward, did not score in nearly 18 minutes of action.
- The Celtics totaled 24 assists, yet no player tallied more than six. Amir Johnson and Avery Bradley tied for the team high with six apiece.
- The Celtics scored at least 25 points during three of the four quarters.
- Indiana grabbed 12 steals on the night, including a game-high three from center Ian Mahinmi.
- Boston grabbed only seven steals, but four of them took place during crunch time.
- The Celtics outscored the Pacers in the paint (52-48), in second-chance points (16-10) and in fast break points (23-9).
- Jae Crowder scored 25 points on an efficient 11-of-15 shooting performance.
- Johnson stuffed the stat sheet with 18 rebounds, 14 points, six assists and two steals.
- Boston made four more 3-pointers (nine) than Indiana while attempting four fewer treys (26) than the Pacers (30).
Quote of the Night
That’s what those guys do.
Brad Stevens' reply after being notified that Pacers head coach Frank Vogel called Boston's perimeter players like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder "pit-bulls.".