Tyrese Haliburton

Game Rewind: Pacers 95 Celtics 120

Friday, March 24 at 7:00 PM ET at TD Garden

Game Rewind

Game Recap: Celtics 120, Pacers 95

In the final regular season matchup against the reigning Eastern Conference champions, the Indiana Pacers couldn’t get much to fall from deep.

The Pacers (33-41), which have made the fifth-most 3-pointers of any NBA team this season, sank a season-low four threes on a season-worst 15.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc in a 120-95 loss to the Boston Celtics (51-23) on Friday at TD Garden. Going into the game, the Pacers averaged 13.8 made 3-pointers per game on 36.6 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Boston, currently ranked No. 2 in the East behind Milwaukee, busted open a five-point halftime advantage with a pair of runs in the third quarter before leading by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter. In the second half, the Celtics outscored the Pacers 60-40.

“We were struggling to get good shots and we were struggling defensively, and it all just kind of snowballed in a four- or five-minute period of time,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

Boston made 18 of 42 3-point attempts and shot 47 percent overall from the field.

The Celtics All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both put up impressive numbers, as Tatum registered 34 points and seven rebounds and Brown had 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Derrick White also had a solid outing for Boston, finishing with 22 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

Returning from a six-game absence due to a right ankle sprain, Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton recorded 20 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Center Myles Turner was next for the Pacers with 20 points and six rebounds.

With the loss, the Pacers are now two games back from 10th in the East, which is the final Play-In Tournament seed.

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In the first half, there were six lead changes and five ties.

Boston came out on fire from beyond the 3-point arc, making four of its first five attempts, with four different players hitting a trey, to lead 19-14 four minutes into the game.

Indiana stayed within reach though, thanks to nine early points by Turner, and re-tied the game following a Haliburton layup and Buddy Hield 3-pointer with 2:25 left in the first quarter.

Back-to-back dunks from Jordan Nwora and Isaiah Jackson again knotted the score before Tatum got a contested layup to go at the buzzer to put the Celtics ahead 34-32 at the end of the opening frame. Tatum had 13 points in the first quarter.

The Celtics stayed ahead until T.J. McConnell scored six straight points for the Pacers and Hield added a breakaway dunk to tie the game at 44 with 6:39 left in the half.

Boston responded with a 11-4 run, on five points from Tatum, to go up 58-48 with 2:42 remaining in the half before the Pacers closed the half on an 8-2  run thanks to four points from Turner.

Indiana trailed 60-55 at half despite shooting 56.5 percent to the Celtics’ 46.9 percent. At halftime, the Pacers had two made 3-pointers.

Brown scored 15 points in the third quarter and the Celtics outscored the Pacers 32-21 in the frame to create some separation.

After Haliburton opened the second half by scoring with a basket, the Celtics went on an 11-0 run, on seven points by Brown, to lead 71-57 with 10:17 left in the third quarter.

The Celtics never trailed by more than 10 points the remainder of the third quarter, and outscored the Pacers 12-6 in the final 4:47 of the frame to lead 92-76 going into the fourth quarter.

In the third quarter, the Pacers had eight  turnovers and shot just 37.5 percent while making one three.

“We just got stagnant offensively, didn’t get enough stops and (Boston) started making some shots,” Haliburton said of the third quarter. “We just didn’t make any shots the whole night. That definitely hurt us.”

Back-to-back made 3-pointers from White and Sam Hauser pushed the lead to 98-78 with 9:37 left in the game, and Boston never looked back from there.

Indiana’s reserves played a majority of the final six minutes of the game.

The Pacers will conclude their four-game road trip at the Atlanta Hawks (36-37) tomorrow. This season, the Pacers have a record of 7-6 on the second legs of back-to-backs.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana was held to under 100 points for just a sixth time this season.

The Pacers shot 13-for-22 from the free throw line and the Celtics were 14-for-19. Indiana’s 59.1 percent from the charity stripe is its worst in a game this season (previously 60 percent against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 16).

Indiana’s bench outscored Boston’s reserves 44-25.

Boston outrebounded Indiana 49-44.

The Celtics had more fast break (16-8) and second-chance (13-5) points.

Indiana outscored Boston 56-48 in the paint.

Boston scored 21 points off 17 Pacers turnovers.

Postgame Media Availability: March 24, 2023

You Can Quote Me On That

“Some nights, shotmaking comes and goes a little bit … but I'll have to look and see how good the quality of the shots were. I do know that we were in the paint a lot in the first half. We were in (the paint) 75%, which is well above our normal rate – and they were at a pretty low rate. We needed to jump into the third quarter with some force and just were unable to do it.” – Carlisle on the low scoring numbers

“We're looking at everything. This is a big-picture period for this organization and the coaching staff and the players; and we’ve got to find the right formulas. It’s great for a guy like Benn Mathurin to have a chance to start against a finals-level team and see and feel what the responsibility of holding your own against the highest level players that start the game is all about. A lot was learned tonight. Unfortunately, you seldom have growth without upheaval or some real challenges.” – Carlisle on lineups

“He didn't look like he slowed down at all, and he attacked well. As a team, we all struggled to make threes tonight. So he was 1-for-5, but I thought most of his looks were good looks. Having him back out there is great.” – Carlisle on Haliburton’s return

“They are obviously a tough team. They are No. 2 in the East for a reason. They have a lot of talent over there. They just had a really good game. We feel like we’ve competed with them well all year ... it was just the first one that kind of got out of hand. But kudos to them, they had a good game. – Haliburton on the Celtics

“We just missed shots today.” – Haliburton on the loss

Stat of the Night

Indiana shot 4-for-26 from 3-point range against the Celtics, which is its fewest made 3-pointers in a game this season as well as the worst 3-point field goal percentage. The previous lows this season were seven made 3-pointers (twice) and 21.4 percent shooting from 3-point (at the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 27).

  • Hield, who hasn’t missed a game this season, didn’t start for the first time since joining the Pacers during the 2021-2022 season. He has started in 99 of 100 games for the Blue & Gold.
  • Mathurin started for a third straight game after playing most of the season off the bench.
  • Former Pacer Malcom Brogdon, who comes off the bench for Boston and is a leading Sixth Man of the Year award contender, was a late scratch.
  • Indiana has not won their season series against the Celtics since the 2015-2016 season.
  • Pacers second-year man Chris Duarte missed a fifth straight game due to a sore left ankle.
  • Indiana has put out 25 different starting lineups this season.
Up Next

The Pacers travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, March 25 at 5:00 PM ET.


After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, March 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>