Keys to the Game:Celtics 119, Pacers 100

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

The Boston Celtics found a way to quickly erase the memory of an ugly end to Wednesday night’s first half. They did so by opening up the second half in the prettiest of fashions.

After allowing Indiana to close out the second quarter on a 12-3 run to cut a 14-point deficit all the way down to five, Boston responded by rattling off eight straight points over the first two-plus minutes of the third period. That quick spurt pushed the C’s ahead by 13 points and they never looked back from there.

Defense and pure shot-making are what pushed the game back into Boston’s favor.

Defensively, the Celtics forced Indiana into four straight misses to start the third, all of which were 3-pointers. The fact that all of Indiana’s attempts during that stretch were from beyond the arc is a great indicator of how strong the Celtics’ interior defense was performing at that time.

Boston’s offense was at the other end of the spectrum at the other end of the court. It made four of its first five shots to account for its 8-0 run, including baskets from three separate players. Al Horford scored the first four points, and then Dennis Schroder drained a jumper for two, and Jaylen Brown put home a running floater to make it 62-49 at the 9:12 mark of the third.

Its lead remained in double-digits for all but 19 seconds of the remainder of the contest, all while swelling up to as many as 24 points. Boston closed out with a 119-100 victory, thanks in large part to that hot stretch at both ends of the court to open up the second half.

Key Player

We may have a first tonight in the history of Keys to the Game! Our Key Player Line is a tie, between two players from the same team.

That’s right, tonight’s Key Player Line goes to both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Let us explain why.

These two guys were both exceptional, and nearly logged the exact same numbers offensively. Both Brown and Tatum shot an efficient 11-for-19 from the field. Brown scored a game-high 34 points, while Tatum was right on his heels with 33. Brown made seven 3-pointers to Tatum’s four. Meanwhile, Tatum dished four assists, while Brown tallied three.

In the rebounding department, Tatum also had a slight edge. He totaled seven boards compared to Brown’s five. Tatum also finished with an advantage defensively, as he tallied two steals and two blocks, while Brown finished with zeroes in those departments.

All in all, that’s about as close as a pair of box scores can possibly be for two teammates during the same game. And that’s why these guys are holding down the Key Player Line category together following a 19-point win.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 34 points, while Jayson Tatum scored 33.
  • Both Tatum and Brown shot 11-for-19 from the field.
  • All five of Boston's starters tallied at least two assists, led by four apiece from Tatum and Al Horford.
  • Boston never trailed in the game.
  • All five of Indiana's starters finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-15 or worse.
  • Robert Williams and Oshae Brissett tied for the game high in rebounds with nine apiece.
  • Boston shot 51.3 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from long distance.
  • All five of Boston's starters finished with a plus/minus rating of plus-14 or better.
  • Myles Turner led Indiana with 18 points.
  • Nine players in the game blocked at least one shot, led by two from Tatum.
  • Dennis Schroder scored 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting during a spot start.
  • Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson tied for the game high in assists with six apiece.
  • Both teams committed 11 turnovers.

Quote of the Night

Ime Udoka on Boston's strong offensive performance