The Boston Celtics had no interest in taking part in the Indiana Pacers' attempt to pull off shocking back-to-back wins. Instead the Celtics took control of the game early in the third quarter to go on to an easy 114-96 win.
Of course, it should've been easier for the Celtics than it was but the Pacers don't seem to realize when they're getting blown out and just kept scrapping away to find a way to make things respectable.
The Pacers jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, appearing to surprise the Celtics by pushing the ball to the hoop for some easy buckets. After living and dying for several games on the perimeter, the C's were probably wondering what happened to the Pacer team they scouted.
But the Pacers couldn't slow down the Celtics and once the C's adjusted defensively and forced the Pacers to the perimeter, the Blue and Gold ran out of gas and luck. A 10-0 run by Boston in the third quarter fueled a big run that push the Celtics' lead to 24.
Game over, right? Pacers are tired, things aren't going their way. Pack it in and fight another day.
Except this Pacer team isn't wired that way. They scrapped away and ended the third quarter only down 15. Then after Danny Granger hit back-to-back threes, the game was down to nine. Marquis Daniels crossed up Kevin Garnett with a chance to cut the lead to six, but KG recovered and swallowed Quisy's layup at the rim. The ball did hit the backboard first but it must've been still going up, so no goal tend.
During the Pacers early fourth quarter run, Doc Rivers was kind enough to let Brian Scalabrine play for Ray Allen. Allen had been torching the nets all night and Scal was making turnovers and missing threes. Unfortunately, Ray was back after KG's block and he continued where he left off and the lead was 16 and growing in an instant. The game was out of reach for good.
I have to get to the bullets because there are some crazy numbers in this one that fill in the details of the story:
- Let's start with Rajon Rondo. When the Pacers beat the Lakers in the second game of the year. Rondo scored two points with four assists and six rebounds. Tonight he had a little bigger impact to the tune of a monster triple-double with 16 points, a career-high 17 helpers, 13 rebounds and three steals for good measure. He had a 10-10-10 triple double less than two minutes into the second half. Nice game.
- Combine Rondo's night with the fact that Ray Allen had 31 points and KG pitched in 26 and 14 and you have to wonder how this game wasn't a 25-30 point difference.
- If those numbers aren't enough, let's throw in the rebound and free throw differentials. The Celtics won the glass battle, 54-31. They also made 26 of 32 free throws compared to the Pacers 9 of 13 from the line. Now throw those numbers in with Ray, KG and Rondo and this game seems more like a 30-35 point game.
- Credit Paul Pierce for keeping a lid on Danny Granger most of the night. After a pretty good start, Danny was quiet until the back-to-back threes. He then tried to do a little too much, taking tough, contested shots and couldn't add to his 20 points.
- Troy Murphy struggled shooting the ball tonight going 0-6 from 3-land but found some solace in the number 10. Murph finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the year and his 10 straight double-figure rebound game.
- Marquis Daniels played pretty well continuing to scrap all night as usual. He only shot one three and I was glad to see him pass up a couple of other attempts. He's only made 1 of his last 10 3-balls and is shooting 17% from 3-land for the year. Quisy needs to call Mark Price up, ask for his money back for the 3-ball tutelage this summer and just stick with getting the ball in the lane. Quisy's offensive game is sweet from 15 feet and in.
A day off sure sounds good after this one. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled the Knicks from the get go tonight to they will feel like they had a couple of days off. As it always is with this Pacer team, it should be interesting.