Pacers at Celtics

GAME RECAP: Celtics 112, Pacers 111

Terry Rozier gets a steal and score late to lift the Celtics over the Pacers, 112-111. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 30 points. Victor Oladipo had 38 points for Indiana in the loss.

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GAME RECAP: Celtics 112, Pacers 111

Terry Rozier gets a steal and score late to lift the Celtics over the Pacers, 112-111. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 30 points. Victor Oladipo had 38 points for Indiana in the loss.
Dec 18, 2017  |  02:14

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 18, 2017

December 18, 2017 - Pacers players Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Lance Stephenson discussed Indiana's 112-111 loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 18, 2017  |  03:07

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Dec. 18, 2017

Dec. 18, 2017 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 112-111 loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 18, 2017  |  06:26

Oladipo Go-Ahead 3

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  08:55

Oladipo Ties the Game

December 18, 2017 - Victor Oladipo drives and converts the and-one to tie the game at 100.
Dec 18, 2017  |  07:14

Postgame: Celtics Locker Room - Dec. 18, 2017

December 18, 2017 - Celtics' coach Brad Stevens and Kyrie Irving talk about the wild finish after pulling out the narrow victory in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 18, 2017  |  02:45

Long Range Lance

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  08:55

DC Starts the Break

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  07:38

Oladipo Takes the Bump

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  08:55

Bojan 3 With The Whistle

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  05:11

DC Steal and Finish

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  04:42

Bojan Scoops the And-One

December 18, 2017: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 18, 2017  |  04:24

Oladipo Reverse Layup

Victor Oladipo takes Al Horford baseline, then slides by him for a reveres layup.
Dec 18, 2017  |  00:15

Game Rewind: Pacers 111, Celtics 112

Monday, December 18, 2017 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Greg Rappaport
Pacers.com Writer
@Greg_Rappaport

Game Recap

In one of the most gut-wrenching losses of the season, Indiana fumbled away what had been one of its finest comebacks of the season, falling 112-111 to the Boston Celtics on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Leading by one and needing to take fouls to close out the game, an errant pass by Bojan Bogdanovic during a keepaway moment resulted in a steal from Terry Rozier, who took it the length of the court and put in the game-winning dunk, spoiling Indiana's 19-point comeback.

"You just have to execute," said Pacers head coach Nate McMillan at the postgame podium. "We talked about this at the beginning of the game, against a group like this, very physical team, number one defensive team in the league and you have to use each other, you have to set screens and be strong with the ball. It really took us to the second half to play against that defense. It's a 48-minute game and you have to execute all 48 minutes. We lost our composure."

Just moments before Rozier's game-winner, the mood at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was ebullient, as Indiana's leading scorer Victor Oladipo rose up and drilled a no-doubt 3-pointer, giving Indiana (17-14) a three-point lead and forcing a Boston timeout.

Coming out of the stoppage, Lance Stephenson quickly disrupted the Celtics (26-7), forcing a turnover as Indiana got the ball back into the hands of Oladipo, who once again connected on a scoop layup. The bucket put Indiana up 107-102 with 31.3 remaining and caused another Boston timeout.

Trailing by five with 28.9 seconds left, Kyrie Irving struck, drilling a three from the corner to tighten the game back to a one-possession game. During the shot, however, Jaylen Brown plowed over Stephenson in the paint, sending Lance to the line with a chance to stretch it to a four-point lead.

Stephenson did just that, sinking both free throws to extend Indiana's advantage to 109-105.

Following the second make, Marcus Smart raced down the court and got a floater to fall over the outstretched arms of Domantas Sabonis as Indiana burned a timeout to draw up an inbounds play.

The Pacers had no problems getting the ball in, as Oladipo received the pass and was promptly fouled with 19.5 seconds remaining. Oladipo hit his free throws as well, again pushing the game to a two-possession contest.

But for Boston, Irving did it again, hitting yet another 3-pointer as Pacers fans felt the game tighten.

Then came the play.

With 9.3 seconds remaining, Bogdanovic inbounded the ball to Cory Joseph. As the Celtics trapped, Joseph slipped a pass back to Bogdanovic. With the defense shifting over to Bogdanovic, the Pacers' sharpshooter made a critical error, lofting a pass to Oladipo who was standing on the center court logo. The pass floated too high, as Celtics guard Terry Rozier erupted in a full sprint, intercepting it out of the air and taking it the length of the court for the game-winning slam with 1.6 seconds remaining.

"Marcus (Smart) was trying to yell to the referee 'I'm fouling, I'm fouling' but they didn't call it, then they threw the ball to Bogdanovic and then he made the pass and I was able to get my hand on it," explained Rozier. "As soon as I stole the ball I took a look at the clock and saw that there were four seconds and I knew that I had time to take a couple dribbles and shoot a layup instead of having to pull up and take a shot."

Indiana had a final chance on a halfcourt heave from Darren Collison that nearly went down. But his prayer of a shot hit back iron, dropping the Pacers to a deflating defeat on Monday night.

For Indiana, Victor Oladipo played one of his finest games of the season, leading the game in scoring with 38 points, 30 of which came in the thrilling second half. The IU-product drilled 13-of-23 shots and made 10-of-13 free throws.

Also of note was the performance of Sabonis, who finished his night with 18 points and seven rebounds, notching a team-best +12 plus-minus.

But for Boston, Kyrie Irving was an nearly unstoppable offensive force, racking up 30 points — which included two back-breaking 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds.

From the start of the night, it was clear why the Celtics were owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference, as Jaylen Brown drained back-to-back 3-pointers to finish off a 10-0 Boston run to open the game.

But even after Pacers head coach Nate McMillan called a timeout to slow the run, Boston's offense stayed red-hot, making its first ten shots from the field to build a 23-8 lead over Indiana just minutes into the game.

As Indiana's bench entered into the game, the Pacers were able to make a brief run, getting the score to 31-17, but the Celtics closed the opening quarter strong as Marcus Smart finished the frame off with a 3-pointer — one of his four makes from long range — to put Boston up 38-21.

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In the second quarter, the Pacers' offense found some traction as Indiana lit off on an 11-3 run to get the deficit back to single digits. When Thaddeus Young connected on a hook shot to make it a 50-41 Celtics lead, Boston head coach Brad Stevens called for timeout with 4:22 remaining in the first half.

In the final two minutes of the half, however, Boston was able to regain its edge, using a 3-pointer from Smart, an alley-oop dunk from Al Horford, and a layup from Brown to give itself a comfortable 15-point lead at the break.

During the third quarter, the Pacers began to mount a charge. Using stifling defense to slow down what had seemingly been an unstoppable Celtics offense, Indiana limited Boston to just 12 points over the first 8:15 of the quarter as Oladipo began to catch fire on offense.

Indiana's leading scorer converted on an and-one, then followed it up with another fastbreak bucket less than a minute later, bringing the score to a 74-68 Celtics lead. As the Celtics signaled for timeout, the crowd at The Fieldhouse erupted, applauding the Pacers, who had managed to climb out a 19-point hole.

Out of the timeout, Boston scored five quick points. But Indiana was undeterred, with Oladipo continuing to fill up the cup, scoring 16 of his 38 points in the third quarter to bring the score to an 85-78 Celtics lead entering the fourth quarter of action in Indy.

In the fourth, despite the Pacers outscoring the Celtics 33-27, Rozier's final dunk proved to be the difference, sending the Pacers to their third consecutive home loss.

After the loss, however, the Pacers spoke seemingly in unison in the locker room about not harping on one teammate's misstep in a game in which Indiana had trailed by 19 points.

"We all made mistakes, it wasn't just one person," said Stephenson at his locker. "Down in the clutch moments, we all gotta stay together and stay focused to get that win. But on to the next, we'll watch film, see what we did wrong, and get a win in Atlanta."

Inside the Numbers

Boston shot 55.7 percent from the field in tonight's game, including a season-best 61.5 percent from 3-point range as the Celtics shot 16-for-26 from distance. The Celtics outscored the Pacers by 27 from long range.

The Pacers tied their season high with 30 free throws made on a season-best 38 attempts from the line.

Oladipo finished with a game-high 38 points, including 30 in the second half and 14 in the fourth quarter. Oladipo has now scored 30 or more points six times, the most in one season in his NBA career.

Al Horford narrowly missed the second triple-double of his NBA career as he finished with 14 points and games highs with 10 rebounds and nine assists.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Get fouled, get the ball in bounds. We have free throw shooters in the game and we knew that we would probably trap one time before they fouled and they did. Cory (Joseph) got it out and Bojan (Bogdanovic) threw a long pass that was just in the air for a long time, allowed Rozier to run underneath. You just have to execute, we talked about this at the beginning of the game, against a group like this, very physical team, number one defensive team in the league and you have to use each other, you have to set screens and be strong with the ball. It really took us to the second half to play against that defense. It's a 48-minute game and you have to execute all 48 minutes. We lost our composure. I thought in the last minute we made free throws and guys got up, we were pressing and they rolled right by us. Missed cues down the stretch cost us the game." -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan

"It's a tough loss, a tough, tough loss. We've gotta have a better start. It was just a crazy game. We dug ourselves the deepest hole you can imagine and again, fought our way back like clockwork but we came up short again. A few games before we came out on the winning end, but tonight, not so much, obviously. It's a tough loss. We did some good things, some not so good things but we just gotta continue to keep getting better. It might be cliché or sound old fashioned, but it's true. We can learn a lot from that game. We can learn a lot from every game we play, if we win or lose. We need to continue to keep learning and improving." -Victor Oladipo

"Kyrie (Irving) made two incredible shots to give us a chance, and I thought that we were really locked in the whole day, obviously they got on a run and (Victor) Oladipo killed us, he was great. They got us on the offensive glass a few times in the fourth quarter. They played really hard, as you know it's not easy to start off the way we started off and to maintain it the entire game because the other team is coming at you." -Celtics head coach Brad Stevens

Stat of the Night

According to ESPN Stats & Info, entering Monday, teams were 0-379 when trailing by 5 or more in the final 30 seconds of a game this season. The Celtics trailed by five with 30 seconds left on the clock.

Noteworthy

  • The Celtics have won the first two meetings over the Pacers this season.
  • Indiana fell for the third straight game at home, its longest home losing streak of the season.
  • Sabonis scored in double figures for the third straight game with 18 points to go with seven rebounds.

Up Next

After a day of rest, the Pacers head to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM ET. Game Preview »

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Following their quick trip to Atlanta, the Pacers return home for a rematch with the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, December 23rd at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »