GAME RECAP: Celtics 114, Pacers 111

All 5 starters score in double-figures with Jayson Tatum scoring 30 points and 6 boards to lead Boston in a win versus Indiana, 114-111.

Postgame 200310

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GAME RECAP: Celtics 114, Pacers 111

All 5 starters score in double-figures with Jayson Tatum scoring 30 points and 6 boards to lead Boston in a win versus Indiana, 114-111.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:02

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020 - Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis respond to the 111-114 loss to the Boston Celtics Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 10, 2020  |  03:53

Oladipo Again

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:10

Warren Ties It

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:07

Euro Step Turner

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:07

Turner Attacks The Basket

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:05

Oladipo Pulls Up

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:06

Turner Gets The And 1

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:07

VIc For Three

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:07

Sabonis Dunks It Home

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:07

Turner for 3

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:06

Sabonis Starts Things Off

Mar 10, 2020  |  00:06

Oladipo Has a Deep Reflection Following Loss

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

What stuck out most at the end was that one thorn amid the bed of roses Victor Oladipo was frantically planting. That's just how it is after losses. That's just how it is when you're a star player whose confidence level makes you great but occasionally spills over the boundaries of reason.

Oladipo, taking yet another step toward becoming peak Oladipo, scored 27 points in the Pacers' 114-111 loss to Boston at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, leading a comeback from a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter all the way to a three-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game.

He had hit all five 3-point shots to that point, so maybe you can't blame him for pulling up from 32 — yes, 32 feet — in transition and firing up what could have been a gamebreaker that brought down The Fieldhouse roof with 1:53 left.

He missed it, though. And instead of a six-point lead the Pacers were soon stuck in a tie game after center Daniel Theis hit an opening 3-pointer on Boston's next possession. The Pacers took a two-point lead after Oladipo hit two foul shots with 1:29 left but missed 3-pointers by Myles Turner and Oladipo helped dig a three-point hole from which they never recovered.

Their shot at forcing an overtime failed to come off when Justin Holiday had to throw up a well-defended and off-balance 3-pointer on an inbounds play with 2.3 seconds left, capping off a game that stands as a tribute to mixed emotions. The Pacers fell behind by 19 points by taking quick shots and not locking in defensively, made a stirring comeback with a 21-2 run to take the lead, then failed to execute down the stretch.

Oladipo wrote the synopsis, doing so many good things that ultimately were neutered by one highly questionable thing. There's no guarantee the Pacers would have scored on the possession if he hadn't taken the shot, and no guarantee they would have gone on to win the game. But it defied the logic of time and score, coming too quickly in the shot clock and from too far away when the Pacers had a lead to protect and nourish.

Oladipo practices 30-foot shots at the end of each workout at St. Vincent Center. And he had hit one from about that distance to force overtime in his season debut against Chicago on Jan. 29. Still, it wasn't the right play in that moment.

He knew it, too. He brought it up three sentences into his first answer in the interview room following the game, to a question that asked for a general reaction to the evening's drama.

"It's a tough loss," Oladipo said. "Got to go back and watch film. Some possessions I wish I could have back."

Oladipo returned repeatedly to that thought in his postgame summation, referring to "quick ones I shouldn't take" and having "a lot of room to grow" and the promise of "I'll be better down the stretch."

"It's part of the process," he added, meaning the process of returning from his year-long absence from last season's torn quad muscle, a process that has him getting closer and closer to where the Pacers need him to be to contend in the Eastern Conference.

Oladipo had scored 10 straight points from the 5:10 mark until 3:32 remained, a run that included two 3-pointers, an 18-foot floater off one foot, and a reverse layup and reduced Boston's lead from 11 to three. T.J. Warren's 3-pointer then tied the game, and Domantas Sabonis' three-point play off Oladipo's assist gave the Pacers their peak lead of the game.

Victor Oladipo

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

After Myles Turner blocked Jayson Tatum's 12-footer, Oladipo grabbed the long rebound, raced downcourt, and with the fans in absolute frenzy...

You know the rest.

It's no wonder he had the confidence to take the shot, though, given his history of clutch shooting and what he had just done to lead the comeback.

"There's no question I can hit the shot, (but) that's not the point," he said. "The point is time and score. I'll take the blame on that one, for sure. I'll be better next time."

Nobody in the Pacers' locker room disagreed with him, but nobody blamed him, either.

"I think the emotions of the game took over," said coach Nate McMillan, who was bothered more by all his team's quick shots in the first half.

"Man, I've living with that shot," added Myles Turner, who continued his solid play with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, eight rebounds," and four blocked shots. "It might have been a quick shot, but those quick shots are the reason we got back in the game.

"Vic is finally more comfortable and playing the way we need him to play. He's going to hit a majority of those shots. I'm not mad at the shot personally. I think he knows he could have taken a better one, but we're not in the game without the shots he took."

It would have been such a huge win for the Pacers, particularly since they were coming off a five-game road trip that ended Sunday in Dallas. They could have pulled within 2 1/2 games of Boston in third place in the Eastern Conference and taken control of the tiebreaker. Now they're 2 1/2 back of Miami in fourth, but can't win the tiebreaker against the Heat.

The road toward gaining homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs is treacherous, even unlikely. But an effort such as the one against a Celtics team stung by consecutive homecourt losses, one played without Malcolm Brogdon, Doug McDermott and Jeremy Lamb, presented hope.

"One thing I alluded to early in the season, I told my guys I didn't like comparing ourselves to prior teams — it's a new season — but one thing we prided ourselves on in the past, especially when we're at home, we come together and make those big runs," Turner said. "We show that grit and fight.

"We showed that tonight. That just (shows) how well we're jelling together. It sucks that we lost, but I think that fight and that will and that grit, it's starting to come together."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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