The Celtics bounced back tonight against Indiana, but it didn't look that way to start. After two minutes, the Celtics were down 8-0. Indiana has a good defense, but the Celtics hurt themselves more than anything. They couldn't hit open shots, and turned the ball over 3 times.
Stevens called an early timeout, and then Boston snapped out of it. Thomas nailed two open threes after some off-ball action, (sound familiar?), and Boston's defense put the clamps down. Paul George challenged Jae Crowder off the dribble multiple times, but Crowder did a great job to hold him 1/6 from the field. The Celtics stormed back to a 12-point lead after Thomas hit a pull-up transition three.
The Pacers went on another 8-0 run to bookend the quarter. Indiana might not be much for consistency, but they sure have an eye for symmetry.
Indiana gave up a truly shocking amount of layups to start the second quarter. The Celtics made some great cuts to the basket to catch them sleeping.
Kelly Olynyk was much improved in his early minutes tonight. He was aggressive on offense, and showed off some of his playmaking skills. He didn't earn any assists, but setup some good looks with his passing.
After the Pacers started paying a little more attention on defense, the Celtics were in a bit of an offensive lull. Then Jae Crowder exploded for 10 straight points. He finished the half with 19, well on his way to a new career high.
Boston's last possession of the half ended hilariously too. With one second left and Boston inbounding the ball under the basket, Hubie Brown says "you cannot let the Celtics get a layup here". Almost on cue, Stevens' play results in an Isaiah Thomas bucket at the rim. This gave Boston an 8 point lead into half. Thomas and Crowder led the way with 15 and 19 points respectively.
Paul George was held to just 4 points in the first half, but came back with a vengeance in the third. He scored 12 points in four minutes, highlighted by an absurd three to beat the shot clock.
Boston survived George's onslaught by taking advantage of turnovers and offensive rebounds. Amir Johnson was an absolute beast rebounding the ball. He extended multiple possessions by snagging offensive rebounds. He finished the game with a season high 18 boards. It was pretty sloppy basketball to be honest, but the Celtics made the most of it en route to a 11-point lead.
But just like the first quarter, Indiana finished on a 9-0 run. Paul George scored 17 in the quarter, and the Celtics entered the fourth with just a 2 point lead.
Both teams had enough bricks to make a house in the beginning of the fourth. Indiana was slightly less bad, and emerged with the lead around the halfway point.
The Celtics needed someone to step up, and the entire team responded on defense. They made some huge plays in crunch time. Isaiah Thomas started it off with a huge block on Paul George. Then came four straight fast break buckets after steals. This propelled the Celtics to a three point lead with a minute left. Then Isaiah made a tough layup in traffic to seal the game, and stop the losing streak.