Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Celtics 83
Scott Agness | March 11, 2014
The Pacers were looking for an emotional jolt heading into Tuesday’s game with the Boston Celtics. They had dropped four straight, their longest streak since the 2011-12 season. Despite the poor play over the last week, Pacers coach Frank Vogel didn’t feel they were too far from their identity, that they just needed to play with greater urgency and compete for a full 48 minutes.
At home for their final meeting of the year against the Boston Celtics, the Pacers showed signs of progress, but still have areas to improve upon. They had a nine-point lead at the half and led the rest of the way, but turnovers and giving up offensive boards helped the Celtics get to within one midway through the fourth period. David West, the catalyst all night, hit a couple big shots, including a bucket plus the foul, to lift the Pacers (47-17) to a 94-83 victory over Boston (22-42).
Pacers big man Andrew Bynum made his debut with the Pacers 38 days after signing with the team. He’s spent the last month learning the system, receiving treatment on his knees and mostly getting into shape. Less than a minute in, he scored his first points on a two-handed jam. The next time down the floor, he attracted a double team and sent a pass across the lane to West, who had 10 in the period, for an easy two points. By the end of the first quarter, he had four points and five rebounds, and the Pacers were in front by four.
Indiana’s bench, which was limited to a season-low four points Sunday night in Dallas, carried the team in the second period. Luis Scola had nine points, and Evan Turner hit all three of his field goals. Trouble was, the Pacers were careless with the ball seven times. Unlike in recent games, the Pacers had a halftime lead (49-40) and were encouraged by their play, shooting 54 percent while holding the Celtics to 35 percent.
With shots still not falling for the Celtics in the third — Indiana’s defense play was partly responsible — they took advantage of the Pacers fouling them and converted 7-of-8 free throws. On the other end, it took Lance Stephenson until the 3:47 mark of the third period until he finally put some points on the board. He did it in an impressive fashion, a finger roll after missing his first shots, and that layup gave Indiana its largest lead, 65-50.
After not turning it over for the first nine minutes, they gave it away three times, two on offensive foul calls, which allowed the Celtics to bite into the Pacers’ lead. They used a 16-4 run, spilling over from the third, to draw to within three points.
Minutes later, the Celtics would come as close as one on a Jared Sullinger dunk with 8:03 remaining. Though they gave up far too many offensive rebounds, the Pacers outscored the Celtics by 10 points the rest of the way for an 11-point win, their third by double-digits over the Celtics this season.
The Pacers understand it’s just one win, and one over a bottom-tier team at that. But it is a win, and something for them to build on over the final 18 games of the regular season. Multiple guys also need to get healthy, and two days between games will help in that area.
Indiana’s performance was an improvement over their last three games, but they still have plenty of areas for growth over the final 18 games of the regular season. Multiple guys also need to get healthy, and two days between games will help in that area.
Inside the Numbers
David West had an excellent night offensively, hitting 11-of-13 shots for 24 points to lead the Pacers in scoring for the fourth time in the last six games. George Hill and Paul George each scored 12 points and Evan Turner (4-for-4) added nine.
Boston had five players in double figures, with Jared Sullinger leading the way. He scored 17 points and grabbed nine boards off the pine. Center Kris Humphries followed up a 20-point performance with 15 in this one, 10 coming in the first half. Rajon Rondo was just 4-for-15 from the field and chalked up eight points and eight assists.
For the first time in 11 games, the Pacers held an opponent below 91 points.
The Celtics’ pulled down 20 offensive rebounds, one short of a season-high for an Indiana opponent, and outscored the Pacers 25-8 in second-chance opportunities.
The Pacers improve to 20-1 this season at home against Eastern Conference foes, including 11 straight victories.
“We played a better basketball game. We shot 55 percent from the field and moved the basketball pretty well. … Overall, a very positive game.” – Frank Vogel
“I thought he looked great. He changes the game. He’s a presence out there on both ends. He’s got the size at the rim for rebounding and obviously the ability to run the offense through him on the offensive end. Go to him in the post, and you got to account for him on the glass. I thought he played really well.” – Frank Vogel on Bynum’s first game
“I felt great. I couldn’t do anything wrong today. All the rebounds came my way and I just grabbed them. Looking forward to next game.” – Andrew Bynum
“We got a lot of things to work on. It’s not like we’re over here rejoicing. It’s not a sigh of relief, but more that I’m happy we won and closed it out. We haven’t been finishing games the right way and we finally got a win. We got to grow from this.” – Roy Hibbert
“As much as we want to get into the playoffs, we're not playoff-ready yet. We need these games to get into playoff form.” – Paul George
“I just thought we made enough plays tonight to win, to beat a scrappy Boston team. Obviously we didn’t take care of the ball the way we need to but … we just wanted to play with enough grit and force not to give up another loss on our home floor.” – David West
“Everything went great except the ball going in the basket.” – Celtics coach Brad Stevens
Stat of the Game
Andrew Bynum had a stellar first night, finishing with eight points (on 3-of-4 shooting), 10 rebounds and an assist.
- Winning all four battles, the Pacers swept the season series with the Celtics.
- David West was issued a technical foul in the second quarter.
- C.J. Watson (sprained right elbow) sat out his fourth straight game and Ian Mahinmi (bruised left rib) was also sidelined.
- Playing before the 21st sellout crowd of the season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers wore their gold uniforms.
The Pacers head to Philadelphia, where they'll take on the 76ers on Friday at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Game Preview »
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