On the second night of a back-to-back in Boston, the Pacers were left behind in the second quarter by the Celtics and were unable to battle back, falling 135-108.
After Domantas Sabonis knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:21 remaining in the first half to make it a five-point game, the Celtics pressed down on the gas and never let up, outscoring Indiana 20-10 to build a 15-point lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Indiana used a series of Celtics turnovers to convert on offense, but Boston's attack — led by Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown, who each had 22 points — was relentless, outscoring the Pacers 37-27 in the third quarter to take a 25-point lead into the fourth as Boston cruised to the win on Wednesday night at TD Garden, their fourth straight victory.
"It just looked like we were gassed tonight," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan explained. "We didn't win a quarter. We knew they would come out fast, and they did. Came out very aggressive, attacking us. We weren't able to establish anything defensively against this group."
The game featured heavy amounts of frustration from Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, who all received technical fouls for arguing with the officials.
There was no shortage of reasons to be frustrated either, as Boston opened up the fourth quarter by jumping ahead 113-84 on a layup from Terry Rozier, marking the most points the Pacers had trailed by all season.
Adding to the problems for the Pacers was an incredible display of shooting from Boston, as the Celtics knocked down 14-of-32 shots from beyond the arc to keep the Pacers from ever mounting a comeback.
"It's just a tough loss, man," said Victor Oladipo, who finished with 17 points. "Unfortunately, it happens. They beat us good today, so credit them. They played well"
Indiana was once again without the defense of Myles Turner, who missed his third straight game with a sore right shoulder. The Pacers are now 1-2 without him on this road trip and have allowed opponents to surpass 115 points in all three games.
To start the night, the Pacers struggled to find their rhythm, making just two of their first seven attempts from the field as Boston surged to an 18-8 lead. Out of a Pacers timeout, Indiana began to find its comfort zone on offense, getting 4-of-8 3-point shots to fall as they cut it to a 29-23 Celtics lead at the end of the opening quarter.
With the second frame underway, the Pacers' second unit began to slice into Boston's lead, as Tyreke Evans provided a number of crafty buckets to tie the game at 35.
But from there, the Celtics capitalized off a series of Pacers turnovers, outscoring Indiana 13-6 to regain their lead. In the final moments of the half Indiana attempted to rally back, but free throws proved problematic for the Pacers as four straight misses at the line kept the Celtics safely ahead, taking a 68-53 lead into the break.
To start the second half, the Pacers defense began to step up, forcing five quick turnovers that led to a Celtics timeout as Darren Collison delivered a layup to make it a 79-65 Boston lead with 6:00 left in the quarter.
Moments later, however, Boston's offense caught fire again, with Gordon Hayward sinking a three to cap an 8-0 sprint to extend their lead back to 20.
The rest of the period essentially ended the night for the Pacers, as 3-pointers from Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, combined with technical fouls from Nate McMillan and Thaddeus Young, allowed the Celtics to extend to a 105-80 lead entering the fourth quarter, where they safely cruised to the win from there.
"We just have to get back to defending the ball," said McMillan. "The last five quarters we've played we've played we've given up 30-plus points, in our last five quarters. We know we are better than that."
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers struggled shooting from three and from the free throw line. They went 9-of-28 from long range and 21-of-33 at the line.
Indiana gave up a large amount of points in transition, with the Celtics outscoring the Pacers 33-10 on the fastbreak.
The Celtics had seven players reach double figure scoring.
You Can Quote Me On That
"They just beat us in every category today. Everything you can imagine, they beat us in, so. Got to go back to the drawing board. One of those games where they do what they need to do. They came in and dominated us. Credit them. They played well." -Victor Oladipo
"We just have to get back to defending the ball. The last five quarters we've played we've played we've given up thirty plus points, in our last five quarters. We know we are better than that. You know, of course, we're missing the anchor of our defense, but we've just got to continue to work." -Nate McMillan
"No, it's as simple as making shots. It's really what it comes down to. I mean, you know, it's not too often that we're going to put up 135 points, but I feel like consistently over the last few games we've done a great job of just making shots – but they've been great ones." -Celtics guard Kyrie Irving
Stat of the Night
The last time the Pacers allowed 135 or more points in regulation was January 12, 2017, when they lost to the Denver Nuggets 140-112 while playing in London.
- Nate McMillan, Thaddeus Young, and Bojan Bogdanovic all received technical fouls for arguing with officials.
- Myles Turner missed his third straight game with a sore right shoulder.
- Alize Johnson's six minutes were a career high.
The Pacers play the Knicks on Friday night in their final night of a five-game road trip before returning home to face Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
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