While the Pacers weren't exactly on point in the first half defensively, the Celtics were also sizzling hot, making an array of shots that had nothing to do with bad defense, as Brad Stevens admitted after the game.
"But we hit some shots," Stevens said. "You know you bank one in at the end of the half and we had some shots go that were tough, tough shots. If you would've told me that we were going to shoot 51 percent against the Pacers tonight, I would've said, ‘We've got a chance to win.' And we do if we don't throw them the ball."
Boston donated 14 second-half turnovers and scored only eight points in the third quarter when the Pacers flipped the switch and smothered the C's defensively. After shooting 59% in the first half, the Celtics dropped down the 40% in the second half and lost control of the game to the Pacers quickly after the break.
All of the D, fueled the offense for the Pacers for a 55-point second half with Paul George scoring 22 of those points and of course, Lance Stephenson tripling the fun by doing a good bit of everything.
I'm quite confident the Pacers realize that come playoff time, they will have to play that champ-level defense from the tip but for now, the slow starts are the only negative to point to for the blue and gold. It was the reason they lost their only game, giving up 60 to the Bulls in the first half and digging way to big a hole to return from against a quality opponent. But the Pacers are now 11-1 and yeah, starting to make game-to-game assessments less important.
They have the goods and will be in the mix for a championship in the playoffs. Until then, enjoy the ride in the regular season.
Of course, one thing that can upset that long-range plan is a key injury or two. Last night, Derrick Rose left Chicago's loss at Portland after appearing to injure his knee. The severity is unknown this morning, but it shows how fragile this whole NBA marathon to a title can be.
Also, many thanks to the late-night comment folks in the game story who were reacting to Rose's injury in real time with the perfect tone of concern. No one wants Chicago to be without Rose this year, especially in the playoffs. If you are celebrating an opponents injury you have problems and I was happy not to see any of that this morning. Thanks.
On a lighter note, you gotta love this Tweet from Reggie Miller last night following the Pacers win.
Pacers easily can make a case for MVP-George, DPOY-Hibbert, MIP-Stephenson, COY-Vogel.. Now that's balling and well rounded..— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) November 23, 2013
Check out the links: