The eight-point third quarter confirmed all of the widely held biases that the Pacers, by just making the playoffs without Victor Oladipo, are an earnest, feel-good story with no chance to actually win. The try-hard gang is admirable, but no threat to Boston.
However, in the Pacers locker room, the story sounded different. The third quarter collapse was simply a matter of poor shooting. Wesley Matthews summed up this view, according to J. Michael.
“We had some great looks in that third quarter,” Wesley Matthews said of their 2-for-19 effort in which the starters combined to score one point. “I don’t think if we played with eyes closed we could have that third quarter again.”
True, if you take a look at the overall numbers, if Bojan Bogdanovic and Doug McDermott were even 3 for 8 from three-land instead of 0 for 8, that 10-point deficit is down to one. Throw in a couple more free throw makes which would still give the Pacers a horrible percentage for the game, and their up two.
Sounds easy enough, no?
But don’t overlook the Celtics energy on defense appeared to make the Pacers uncomfortable, not to mention their ability to matchup with variations the Pacers tried. Once, again, the Turner and Sabonis minutes were a negative exercise against the Celtics (more on this from Caitlin soon). Flow and rhythm on offense help shooters make shots while stagnant, clogged up offense lead to clanks like we saw in the second half. Better execution leads to better shots and naturally, more makes.
The playoffs are about adjustments and the Pacers have plenty for to adjust heading into Game 2. At least they are staying positive in light of the clunker they put up on Sunday.
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