The Indiana Pacers haven't deviated much from what's gotten them to 11-1 much this season, heading into the locker room against the Boston Celtics trailing at the half for the ninth time in the opening 12 games. The Celtics shot their way to a 50-42 advantage behind a 59% field goal percentage fueled by some serious Jordan Crawford mojo. Crawford was 8-8 in the first half, scoring 19 points. The Celtics as a whole played well in the first half. Not only the shooting percentage, but they had a lot going right for them in the paint, where they scored 26 points, leading to their first half success.
Indiana came out in the second half and quickly changed the complexion of the game. While their offense wasn't great at times, with numerous easy misses around the rim, the Pacers still cranked the defense up in the third quarter, where they won 25-8 to set the tone for a second half lock down, forcing 16 Boston turnovers in the half, and scoring 30 points off of 23 turnovers. The Pacers also limited Boston in the paint, where they scored just 10.
The Pacers got a lot of "good" Lance Stephenson tonight, who dropped his second triple-double in as many weeks, putting forth a tidy 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also had four steals and just one turnover. For all the grief Stephenson has gotten the past few games, he played excellent ball tonight to make an impact on the game. Stephenson also became a part of an exclusive club after posting his second triple-double of the season, joining the likes of himself and no one else.
Not only was Stephenson spot on, but so too was Luis Scola, who had a season high of 17 on 7-9 shooting. Scola was effective from inside and out on his night, and led a bench night of 29 points. The bench was key in the first half to closing an early first half gap between the two teams, even though their defense was porous at times. Donald Sloan got burn as C.J. Watson sat the night out with an upper respiratory infection, and certainly looked like hadn't played in a couple of weeks.
Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points, scoring 22 in the second half as the Pacers turned it on. As the team struggles out of the gate, so it seems George is just conserving himself for the second half, where he turns and guides the Pacers back when the game matters most. David West also had a solid night of 17 points in 29 minutes, grabbing eight rebounds, three steals, and three assists on the night. Roy Hibbert had eight points, eight rebounds, and two blocks, but really struggled shooting from the floor at just 3-11, missing a number of short looks all night; something that was a minor epidemic for the Pacers.
The Pacers have a quick turnaround with another back-to-back tomorrow night. This time they'll come back home to face the Philadelphia 76ers, who have shown little to no fear or expert pick awareness after a come-from-behind overtime win against Milwaukee moves them to 6-8 on the season. The Sixers will be looking to complete the Eastern Conference Contender Triple Crown after wins against Miami and Chicago.