Pacers vs Celtics

Game Recap: Celtics 116, Pacers 111

The Celtics defeated the Pacers, 116-111. Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while Victor Oladipo tallied 24 points, six rebounds and six assists fo

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Game Recap: Celtics 116, Pacers 111

The Celtics defeated the Pacers, 116-111. Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while Victor Oladipo tallied 24 points, six rebounds and six assists fo
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room – Dec. 29, 2020

Dec. 29, 2020 – Nate Bjorkgren, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon speak with the media following Indiana’s 116-111 loss to the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 29, 2020  |  02:54

Sabonis Works the Pick and Roll

December 29, 2020: The Pacers put the pick and roll to good use.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:08

Sabonis Finds Holiday

December 29, 2020: Domantas Sabonis gets it to Justin Holiday with a slick pass.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:08

Turner for Three

December 29, 2020: Myles Turner hits a 3-pointer.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:07

Two-Man Game

December 29, 2020: The Blue & Gold team up for two.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:07

Backdoor Cut by Warren

December 29, 2020: T.J. Warren uses a great cut to score.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:05

Vic Ties It Up

December 29, 2020: Victor Oladipo ties the game at 49.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:06

Justin for Three

December 29, 2020: Justin Holiday knocks down a 3-pointer.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:08

Turner Blocks Then Dunks

December 29, 2020: Myles Turner with the block and dunk.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:10

Brogdon Hits Second Three

December 29, 2020: Brogdon hits his second three of the game.
Dec 29, 2020  |  00:08

Game Rewind: Pacers 111, Celtics 116

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

Game Recap

After three quarters on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Indiana Pacers appeared well on their way to a 4-0 start.

The Blue & Gold had built an 11-point lead thanks to another dominant third quarter, Victor Oladipo was attacking the rim at will, T.J. Warren was heating up like he was back in the bubble, and Domantas Sabonis was flirting with another triple-double.

But the Pacers' best laid plans went astray down the stretch, as the Boston Celtics (2-2) quickly rallied in the fourth quarter and held on down the stretch to hand the Pacers (3-1) their first defeat, a 116-111 decision that avenged a one-point loss to the Pacers two nights earlier.

The loss spoiled another strong performance from Oladipo, who was back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday's game for injury management on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pacers' star guard finished with a team-high 24 points, six rebounds, and six assists, his third straight 20-point game to open the season.

"I'm starting to get more and more confident going to the rim and going up there and finishing," Oladipo said. "It's just something that I've just got to keep getting better at. I'm feeling stronger, feeling healed, and now I've just got to go."

The Celtics surged ahead early in Tuesday's contest thanks to an 11-0 run. Boston led by as many as eight in the first quarter. Myles Turner scored seven points in the frame for Indiana, but the visitors took a 31-26 lead into the second quarter.

The Pacers tied the game on five separate occasions in the second quarter thanks in part to eight points from Oladipo, but Boston never relinquished the lead.

The Celtics took a 58-57 advantage into halftime, but it did not last long past the intermission. Oladipo knocked down a three on the first possession of the second half to put the Pacers in front. The two-time All-Star quickly added a dunk and a layup, then assisted on Indiana's next two field goals as the Blue & Gold opened the third quarter with a 14-6 run.

The Celtics scored the next six points to trim Indiana's lead to 71-70 midway through the frame, but Indiana responded with another flurry. This time it was Warren leading the charge, scoring nine points as the Pacers reeled off a 17-1 run.

Warren scored 15 points in the third quarter alone as Indiana continued its early-season dominance of the frame, outscoring Boston 37-25 to take a 94-83 lead into the fourth quarter.

But the script flipped from there, as the Celtics opened the frame with 11 unanswered points, tying the game on Jayson Tatum's layup less than three minutes into the fourth quarter.

The visitors then took the lead on Tatum's jumper with 7:29 remaining. Indiana tied the game at 100 on Justin Holiday's layup with 6:45 to play, but Boston scored the next nine points. To make matters worse, Indiana lost Warren for the night when he picked up his sixth foul with 4:11 left.

"You can't let your guard down for a second," Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said. "They came out and went bang, bang, bang, had three or four buckets in a row there. We started standing a little bit on offense, but it wasn't due to the lack of effort of our guys.

"Give their team a lot of credit. I thought both teams played extremely hard."

But the Pacers mounted a charge of their own, cobbling together a 9-2 run and cutting the deficit to just two points on Oladipo's layup with 1:01 remaining. After a timeout, Payton Pritchard airballed a 3-pointer after a strong contest from Oladipo, giving Indiana the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.

But they never got a shot off, as Holiday was stripped from behind, leading to an uncontested layup from Jaylen Brown. Malcolm Brogdon answered with a layup of his own with 16.5 seconds remaining, but the Pacers had to foul and Tatum hit both free throws to push the Celtics' lead back to four. Sabonis turned it over on the other end, ending any hopes of a comeback.

Brogdon finished with 19 points and seven assists for Indiana, while Warren added 17 on 7-of-13 shooting. Turner had 16 points, six boards, and three blocks while going 3-for-6 from 3-point range and Sabonis tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.

Holiday chipped in 12 points and four steals off the bench.

Tatum led all scorers with 27 points, going 9-for-17 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free throw line while also collecting 11 rebounds and four assists. Brown added 20 points, Marcus Smart had 17 and five assists, and Tristan Thompson had a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) in the win.

The Pacers will look to bounce back on Thursday afternoon, when they continue a four-game homestand by hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on New Year's Eve.

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers went 12-for-33 from 3-point range on Tuesday, but were just 3-for-14 after halftime and 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter.

Turner (1-for-12) and Holiday (1-for-9) had struggled from 3-point range over the first three games, but both shot the ball better on Tuesday. Turner went 3-for-6 and Holiday was 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.

For the first time this season, Indiana did not outscore its opponent in points in the paint. Boston matched the Pacers with 54 points on the interior.

Celtics rookie Pritchard continued his strong play off the bench. After scoring a career-high 13 points on Sunday, Pritchard played 27 minutes on Tuesday, tallying 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Boston attempted 21 more free throws and outscored the Pacers by 14 from the charity stripe. The Celtics went 27-for-37 from the free throw line, while the Pacers were 13-for-16.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We've got to take care of it better, but it's not like they're selfish turnovers. We've got to be strong with the ball. It was a very physical game at both ends, a lot of bumps. We've got to be strong with that ball, but our guys...they're trying to make the right play for their teammate." -Bjorkgren on the Pacers' late turnovers

"You've got to mix it up on him. You can't play him the same way. We tried to double him there at different times. He had a good night, you've got to give him credit for that. But he hit some tough shots, too, very tough, contested shots." -Bjorkgren on guarding Tatum

"We just didn't necessarily make plays or get stops when we needed to. I think we put them on the line a little too much down the stretch, too." -Oladipo on the difference in the fourth quarter

"You've got to give credit where credit is due to the Celtics. They executed well down the stretch. We didn't. I think they got to the free throw line a lot. They made an emphasis to get there a lot in the fourth quarter and we started fouling a lot, myself included." -Turner

"I put a lot of extra work in on my shot after the last game, the past couple of days. I know I'm a great shooter. I think it's just shaking off the rust right now. My teammates, my coach, everybody's giving me the green light to go out there and shoot it. They're going to have to fall eventually. I work too hard on it for them not to." -Turner on his 3-point shooting

"I feel extremely confident in this team, in this coach. I think we have a brilliant coach. I think he's extremely smart and has a great handle on this team and the energy here. I'm excited about what this team is going to become." -Brogdon on his evaluation of the Pacers through the first four games

Stat of the Night

Though they fell short on Tuesday, the Pacers still outscored Boston 37-25 in the third quarter. Indiana has won every third quarter this season by double digits, outscoring its opponents by a combined 52 points over the first four games.


  • The Pacers and Celtics have split a pair of games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in each of the last two seasons. The two teams will meet once more this season in Boston on Feb. 26.
  • Sabonis recorded his fourth straight double-double to open the year. He set the franchise record with 50 double-doubles last season.
  • Reserve guard Edmond Sumner was active on Tuesday after missing the last two games due to illness, but did not play.

Up Next

The Pacers welcome Collin Sexton and the Cleveland Cavaliers to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 3:00 PM ET.


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