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Celtics 122, Pacers 103: Next Stop, Milwaukee...Maybe

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Look, I realize the Boston Celtics have been struggling lately, but they're still a championship-caliber team. When their shots are falling they're an elite handful any team, especially is said team lets them shoot it unfettered.

The Indiana Pacers did their part to make the Celtic's shooter comfortable and never gave themselves a chance, as the C's rolled to a 122-103 win.

The scoreboard operator at TD Garden was no doubt complaining of carpal tunnel pain after posting all 98 of the points the Celtics scored in the first three quarters. During the C's 38-point second quarter the home team shot 78%. That's ridiculous. Nate Robinson made three of his five 3-balls on the night like he swapped shooting strokes with Ray Allen for the night.

The third quarter included even more fireworks because the Pacers were able to match the rapid scoring rate. In fact, there was about a three minute stretch in the third when the possessions went back and forth 12 times with each team scoring on their possession all but one time. There wasn't even an offensive rebound required to keep any of those possessions alive. It was just ping pong scoring one after the other.

The Pacers simply had nothing for the Celtics defensively. And by nothing I mean no apparent interest in even seeing if they were capable of getting some stops. During the game, I tweeted that the Pacers defense was like I-90 thru South Dakota...no stops for 45 miles.

Reynold's Farm Equipment sponsors the hardest working player of the game on FSI broadcasts, but they may want to negotiate some veto power for a game like this. Troy Murphy was granted the honor for his 17 points and 10 rebounds, but really no one in the road banana suits deserved anything as rugged as an award for hard work from a farm equipment company. The fields were fallow tonight.

After the jump, a few more thoughts while waiting for pvirsky's take from the Garden.

  • T.J. Ford started at point guard but left early in the first quarter after tweaking a groin muscle. He would not return so his status will likely be a game-timer when the team plays in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.
  • Danny Granger really struggled getting his shots to the rim and just seemed to have no interest in defending nor energy to play the role of lead dog for the Pacers. Granger had four turnovers and a few ugly FGAs that more closely resembled turnovers than shot attempts.
  • The Celtics bench put this game out of reach by doing some a lot of damag second quarter. Along with Nate's long bombs, Baby Davis and newly acquired Michael Finley gave the Pacers fits. The trio combined for 39 points and untold amounts of energy off the bench.
  • With T.J. Ford shelved for the night, A.J. Price was afforded some playing time off the bench. As usual, I'm left begging for more but just because the game was so out of hand. Price played a little over four minutes in the first half and then the whole fourth quarter. Prices performance was up and down. He handled the ball well while playing some actual point guard instead of shooting guard during his first half run. He couldn't find a rhythm on his shot despite a couple of solid moves which freed him up for shots. He also found his teammates quite nicely but had four turnovers trying to complete passes. In fairness, two of those passes were lost on the other end by unsuspecting teammates. Again, that's the rust and not being used to playing together. One needle threader to Troy Murphy in the first half was beautiful but Murph never even considered the pass was an option so it eventually bounced off his hands. More time please.
  • Josh McRobertsalso had a little first half run and then joined Price in the fourth quarter. His initial run was quite irrelevant as he got lost a couple of times defensively and didn't seem ready to go offensively. Of course, he wasn't alone, but McRoberts seems to need one of those alley-oop plays or break away dunks to get himself going. During his garbage time run, McRoberts had his shot going. He knocked down a couple of 3-balls and finished with 9 points before fouling out.
  • Roy Hibbert scored 14 points in the third quarter en route to 23 for the game. More remarkable was that he played over 40 minutes and only had two fouls.
  • Brandon Rush backed up his big night against Philly by only taking six shots and scoring 9 points in 40 minutes of play.