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Celtics 99, Pacers 88: Pacers Off Target, Celtics Log 13-Straight Win

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The Indiana Pacers struggled to make baskets while the Boston Celtics made scoring look easy as the C's pulled away late to secure a 99-88 win over the Pacers.

The 13th straight win for the Celtics required more effort than it should've considering Boston shot 54% (41-76) from the floor. The Celtics seemed to score in bunches, going on several mini-runs where layups and open perimeter shots were plentiful.

Meanwhile, the Pacers just couldn't shoot straight as their offensive possessions were a struggle most of the day. The Pacers would end up taking 20 more FGAs than the Celtics but only make 35.4% (34-96) of their shots.

Unlike the frustrating losses of the recent past, the Pacers put forth a solid effort all day, they just couldn't make the necessary plays required of a big road win. The Pacers took a few leads and kept the game within two possessions until the Celtics pushed to close out the win, with Big Baby Davis dropping 10 of his 18 points down the stretch in the fourth quarter. These weren't layups off bad rotations, but jump shots that the Pacers' defense would prefer to see considering the other offensive threats on the floor for Boston.

The Pacers best chance to position themselves to steal a win was with about three minutes left, when the Pacers had the ball and a chance to cut the lead to four points. Instead Darren Collison turned it over resulting in an easy layup for Ray Allen at the other end. With the Pacers' struggling to score, that four-point swing was too much for the Pacers to overcome.

After the jump, a few more thoughts and observations from the Pacers' loss in this stealth game played during a heated Colts' game.

  • I guess if you're going to lose, doing so when no one notices is the way to go. As much as I'd love to blame David Stern for tagging the Pacers with a Celtics' game at 1PM during a Colts' home game, they certainly didn't know it would be such a huge game for the Colts. The Pacers will return to TV tomorrow night when they host New Orleans.
  • As for the game, the Pacers hung in on such a poor shooting night thanks to battling on the glass to come away 16 offensive rebounds to Boston's 4. Roy Hibbert had 5 of those, although most were on his own misses. Tyler Hansbrough snagged three of them and battled Kevin Garnett underneath admirably in his 12 minutes of playing time.
  • Josh McRoberts missed the game with an abdominal strain so Jeff Fosterstarted in his place. Hansbrough had to earn some playing time with his effort on the glass today, not to mention he topped the Pacer +/- chart on the day. Not sure how JOB could spin his play as a negative.
  • Danny Grangerand Roy Hibbert were nowhere near efficient on the offensive end. They combined to shoot 13 of 43 from the floor. Granger scored his 19 points making 5 of 20 shots and only 1 of 7 from behind the arc. He did get to the line to make 8 of 9 which was nice to see.
  • Hibbert was 5 of 23 for his 17 points, but he did haul in 14 rebounds to go with 2 blocks. Still, there were too many rushed shots around the rim that bounced out.
  • The Pacer point guards were solid much of the day although at crunch time the Collison turnover and too many big plays from Nate Robinson wiped out the good effort. Collison finished with 15 points while T.J. Ford had 13. Robinson played 43 minutes in place of Rajon Rondo and finished with 18 points.
  • Mike Dunleavy scored 10 points and had a rare technical foul early in the fourth quarter which put the C's back up by 5 points. Dahntay Jones had an even more ridiculous technical considering he didn't play. Jones started jawing from the bench with Paul Pierce coming out of a timeout in the second quarter and both players were hit with a T.
  • Pierce was a thorn in the Pacers' side all day, not with his usual high scoring effort but a 18-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple double.
  • Shaquille O'Neal was a game-time decision but not only started, but jump-started the C's effort scoring 11 first quarter points. That was more than enough juice to keep the Celtics flowing for their 13th straight win.