The Celtics look to return to form against the 8-3 Indiana Pacers led by Danny Granger. The Pacers came into tonights game fresh off a win against the Toronto Raptors Friday night, and were looking for their second win of the season against the Celtics. Tonights game was potentially a big one for the Celtics, who were looking to prove they have something left to give this season, and build confidence as the season progresses. Chris Wilcox, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic, and Keyon Dooling all did not play in the game due to injuries.
Doc started the the first quarter with a lineup of Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, and O'Neal. The Celts took a lead to start the game after a goaltend from Roy Hibbert. Quickly thereafter, Paul George answered with a three and the Pacers took the lead. After a 3 pointer by Mickael Pietrus, the Celtics went on a 8-0 run with 3 minutes left to go in the quarter to go up by 3. The first quarter ends with the Pacers in the lead 29-24. Paul Pierce went into the second quarter with 5 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound. The Pacers were looking to keep Paul George involved in the 2nd quarter, after his 9 points in the first.
The second quarter opened with a few very quick up-and-down possessions leading to a quick 7 point deficit for the Celtics. Doc decided to shake it up and gave E'Twaun Moore some early minutes at point guard to expedite the Celtics offensive tempo. Due to a possession where the Celts had 3 offensive rebounds and failed to score, it became clear that missed layups were a significant hinderance for Boston. A Darren Collison 3 opened up a 46-35 lead, the largest lead of the night for Indiana. At this point in the 2nd, there was an obvious lack of confidence exuded by the Celtics. Ray Allen opted to end the quarter on a positive note after hitting a three with :15 seconds left. The first half ended with Boston trailing Indiana 48-56. Garnett ended the first half as the high-man for the Celts with 13 points and 4 rebounds. For the Pacers, Paul George continued his solid offensive performance with 13 points, supported by Danny Granger (12 points, 4 rebounds, 5-9 shooting).
Pros of the first half:
- 10 offensive rebounds
- Solid offensive production with 48 points
- Kevin Garnett with 13 touches
Cons of the first half:
- Gave up too many points (56)
- 25 points from Granger & George combined
- 15 Indiana fast break points
- Poor bench performance
- 39% shooting for the Celtics
Boston rang in the third quarter with a Kevin Garnett jump shot which cut the lead to single digits. This was quickly supplemented by Paul Pierce at the free throw line, cutting the Pacers lead to 8. After 4 careless turnovers by the Celtics, the lead grew to 13 for the Pacers and promptly led to a time out called by Doc Rivers in an attempt to settle the game. Shortly after the time out, David West put in a powerful left handed dunk over Garnett and was answered, in full, by back to back Paul Pierce 3 pointers. With 4 minutes remaining in the third, Greg Stiemsma and Mickael Pietrus checked into the game to try and provide some much needed rest for Ray Allen and (the day-to-day injured) Jermaine O'Neal. A Danny Granger 3 pointer towards the end of the 3rd quarter escalated the lead to 18 for Indiana, the largest of the night. E'Twuan Moore answered with a 3 pointer of his own with :15 seconds remaining, and the third quarter ended, with the Celtics trailing 82-67. Garnett and Pierce ended the quarter with 19 points each, tied as high scorers. Danny Grange looked to enter the fourth quarter with more of the same offensive mentality, finishing the 3rd with 19 points and 4 rebounds.
In the final quarter, the Celtics started with Moore, Allen, Pietrus, Bass, and Garnett. Pierce was quickly subbed in after Mickael Pietrus picked up his 4th personal foul (the 22nd team foul). Brandon Bass got off to a quick start with a 15-foot jump shot (shooting 5-12, with 10 points to this point). Rondo was substituted in shortly thereafter. A devestating dunk by Paul George with 4:00 minutes remaining, and another by Roy Hibbert at 2:00 remaining, seemed to personify the over all lack of effort on the defensive end by the Celtics. Doc opted to put the 2nd unit in to finish the game (Moore, Bradley, Pietrus, Johnson, and Stiemsma). The fourth quarter ended 97-83 and the Pacers came away with back to back victories, and the Celtics retreat with their fourth loss in a row.