The Indiana Pacers went on a 21-2 run late in the fourth quarter Tuesday night inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they turned Boston's 16-point lead into a three-point lead of their own with 2:14 remaining. But none of that mattered, because Daniel Theis was about to save the day for the C’s with a couple of clutch offensive possessions.
First, Theis delivered with the biggest splash of the game.
The play started with Kemba Walker sending an alley-oop pass in the direction of Gordon Hayward, but after making an off-balance catch in mid-air, Hayward opted to fire the ball back beyond the arc to Theis. With Aaron Holiday closing him out, Theis faked a pass toward Walker on his right. Holiday bit on the fake, leaving Theis wide open from straightaway center, where he rose up and knocked down the game-tying 3-pointer.
Victor Oladipo would put Indy back up on its next possession with a pair of free throws, but Theis wasn’t done yet.
During Boston’s next ensuing trip up the court, Jayson Tatum received a pass on the left wing and Theis came over to help out by setting a pick on T.J. Warren. The screen allowed Tatum to dribble past his man, but it then left him with Myles Turner to deal with. Fortunately, Theis was quick enough to backpedal and spin around to seal off Indiana's elite rim protector, which created a wide-open lane to the basket. Tatum took full advantage of it by driving full steam ahead for a game-tying slam dunk.
Turner missed a 3-point attempt during the Pacers’ next possession, and then Marcus Smart capitalized by delivering a beautiful go-ahead layup with 50 seconds remaining. Walker and Smart then sealed the game at the free-throw line, which allowed the Celtics to walk away with a 114-111 victory.
Gordon Hayward had himself quite the homecoming Tuesday night in Indianapolis, where he delivered one of his best performances of the season in front of family and friends.
The Indy native poured in 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, while also corralling a game-leading 10 rebounds, dishing out a team-leading five assists, snagging two steals, and blocking one shot.
Nearly all of Hayward's offensive production came during the first and third quarters, as he opened the game up with a 13-point frame, and then came out of the half with a 12-point period. That scoring, coupled with the double-digit rebounding effort gave Hayward his first 25-10 since Dec. 21, 2016 when he was a member of the Utah Jazz.
Box Score Nuggets
- Both teams had three players score at least 20 points.
- Jayson Tatum was the high scorer of the game, as he finished with 30 points.
- Gordon Hayward (27 points) and Daniel Theis (20 points) were Boston's other 20-point scorers.
- Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers in points, rebounds and assists, finishing with 28, nine and eight, respectively.
- All five Celtics starters scored in double figures.
- Jayson Tatum led the game with four steals, which was just one fewer than Indy snagged as a team.
- Myles Turner led the game with four blocks, which was just one fewer than Boston swatted as a team.
- The Celtics committed just eight turnovers to Indiana's 12.
- Boston made its first 15 free-throw attempts. It finished 19-of-22 from the line.
- Both teams excelled on the offensive glass, with Boston corralling 11 O-boards and Indy tallying 10.
- Both teams scored 14 fast-break points.
- The Celtics led by as many as 19 points, while Indiana's largest lead was just three.
Quote of the Night
I think anybody would like to have it more comfortable to win. But it's getting close to that time where you're going to have to win games like this and you're going to have to learn how to win games like this.
Marcus Smart on the tough win.