Game Rewind: Celtics 95, Pacers 83
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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN
“The game turned around when they went to a big “1” guard and were able to post up T.J. (Ford) and Darren (Collison). That slowed the tempo and got them back in the game. "
(On Glen Davis) "When you have Kevin Garnett or Davis in the game they run pick and roll at the top of the key and move Josh (McRoberts) or Roy (Hibbert) away and you’ve got to be quick to get out to their shooters. He is a very good shooter."
(On Danny Granger’s shooting) "I’d say most of them (shots) are pretty good looks and they’re not going down for him. We moved them well in the first half because we were getting stops. Then they went to switching and kind of slowed us down.”
PACERS GUARD BRANDON RUSH
“Needless to say, we didn’t play well in the fourth quarter. I’m not concerned about my minutes. I know that I will get them and make use of them. This is a tough, tough loss for us to take and move on. It doesn’t matter. We have to regroup and move on.”
PACERS FORWARD JOSH McROBERTS
“We just lost. We played well with them for three quarters. They made a run. We didn’t respond well, didn’t make good plays and lost the ball game.”
PACERS FORWARD DANNY GRANGER
“We’re not getting good looks and I am not shooting the ball very well. When you lead good teams like we did tonight and you let them make a run at you, you’re not going to be able to hang in there with them. This is a very good basketball team.”
CELTICS COACH DOC RIVERS
(On bouncing back from the Christmas day loss) "It’s always nice. This was a tough game. This is just a tough place to play. You knew this would be a tough game. For us to grind it out was huge."
(On the game) "We were missing shots. Give them (Pacers) credit. In the first half I thought they were basically taking us out of our offense with their pressure. We just kept playing defense. Then all of a sudden our shots started falling and our defense stayed. That was when the game changed."
(On Marquis Daniels) "I thought in some ways, Marquis kind of slowed everybody down. He made sure we were getting into something every time down. We ran the same three sets over and over, but we executed them. I thought Marquis did a terrific job."
(On Jermaine O’Neal) "I thought J.O. struggled in the first half. In the second half, he was absolutely wonderful. It looked like he just bought in intensity-wise all of a sudden. That was terrific. We needed it because we didn’t have a lot tonight.”
CELTICS FORWARD PAUL PIERCE
“In the third quarter we came out lethargic, but then we started to play aggressive. J.O. really sparked us in that quarter."
(On Marquis Daniels) "He is a match up problem for anybody. Teams are going to have to figure out who to play on who. On the flip side, he is a great defender. He can guard anyone out on the floor."
(On his early fouls) "I was upset when I picked up a couple of fouls early. When I got back in, I tried to get in a rhythm and get in a flow. I wanted to get some quick shots because I hadn’t taken any shots yet."
(On winning after losing Christmas day) "You always want to get back on track, especially after a tough loss. To me it feels like we’ve been on the road for two weeks, even though we’ve only played two games in six days. The road can wear on you mentally.”
CELTICS GUARD RAY ALLEN
(On Marquis Daniels) "He did a great job tonight, not only offensively but guarding their point guards. He was able to keep us under control and he did a great job in the fourth quarter. He’s long, especially long. We can post him up when small point guards are defending him. It is a pretty good line up for us when he is in there.”
Pacers go cold in 2nd half, lose to Celtics
Leading by 10 points midway through the third quarter, the Pacers looked like they might be on their way to an uplifting victory in front of a sellout crowd. But an offense that has been limping for the past few weeks lost its footing once again, managing just two baskets in the next 9½ minutes as Boston seized control of the game with a 27-7 run and cruised to a 95-83 victory over Indiana before 18,165 Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
While Boston got production from a variety of sources, notably reserves Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis, who combined for 26 points, 18 in the second half, the Pacers continued to search for their offensive punch. Top scorers Danny Granger (5-of-21) and Roy Hibbert (3-of-9) continued their concurrent slumps and only Brandon Rush (17 points) stepped forward to pick up the slack.
The Pacers dropped their second in a row and sixth in eight games to fall to 13-16, three games under .500 for the first time this season. They’re 8-8 at home. Boston, which just had its NBA-best 15-game win streak snapped Saturday in Orlando, improved to 24-5 overall and 11-4 on the road.
- “The game turned around when they went to a big (point guard) and were able to post up T.J. (Ford) and Darren (Collison). That slowed the tempo and got them back in the game.” – Pacers coach Jim O’Brien
- “We’re not getting good looks and I am not shooting the ball very well.” – Granger
- “This is a tough, tough loss for us to take and move on.” – Rush
- ”This was a tough game. This is just a tough place to play. You knew this would be a tough game. For us to grind it out was huge.” – Boston coach Doc Rivers
STAT OF THE GAME
Since 2007-08, the Celtics are 46-9 in December, the best mark in the NBA. The Pacers, on the other hand, are 18-40.
The game was taut and competitive, and largely controlled by the Pacers, for the first 30 minutes. A 20-9 run, with Mike Dunleavy scoring seven, bridged the first and second periods put the Pacers up 34-22.
Paul Pierce, out most of the first quarter with two fouls, made up for lost time in the second, scoring 10 in a row and 12 overall as the Celtics surged, cutting the Pacers’ lead to 47-45 at the break. Indiana shot 7-of-21 in the second quarter, missing all four of its 3-point attempts.
Rush got the Pacers off to a quick start in the second half with a 3-pointer and a drive, sparking a 13-5 burst that put the Pacers up 60-50 with 6:06 remaining. But the Celtics began running their offense through Daniels, mismatched against T.J. Ford in the post, and the results proved devastating to the Pacers.
Boston closed to 67-66 by the close of the third, then scored the first 11 of the fourth quarter to stretch the advantage to 77-67.
The Pacers had a chance to cut it to five in the final minute but James Posey’s soft pass was intercepted by Pierce, who drove the length of the floor for a punctuating dunk.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Pacers shot below 38 percent (.372) for the third time in four games and fifth in the last eight. That included a 12-of-38 (.316) mark in the second half. Granger started relatively well, splitting his first six shots, but went 2-of-15 thereafter. He wound up with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Rush scored nine of his 17 from the line, adding seven rebounds. Darren Collison scored 10 on 4-of-10 shooting with three assists. Hibbert had eight points and eight rebounds but was scoreless in 10 minutes in the second half.
Pierce led the Celtics with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds, hitting 8-of-14 from the floor and hitting all three of his 3-point attempts. Ray Allen scored 17 on 7-of-11 shooting. Davis had 14 points, and Daniels had 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Kevin Garnett had 11 points and 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Boston shot .507 overall.
- Dunleavy and Boston’s Nate Robinson banged heads midway through the third quarter, with both players heading straight to the locker room to have lacerations treated. Dunleavy returned after receiving stitches above his right eye, while Robinson played with a bandage over his left eye and had stitches after the game.
- Boston has won four in a row against the Pacers.
- Indiana is now 4-3 in the first game of back-to-backs.
- The Pacers started the game 20-44 from the floor, but hit just nine of their last 34 shots (.265).
- Indiana has been held to 94 points or less in seven of the last eight games and averaged 89.1 in that span. In the last eight games, the Pacers have shot 265-671 (.395).
The Pacers head to Washington to face John Wall, newly acquired forward Rashard Lewis and the Wizards on Wednesday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).
--Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com