The Pacers were without Paul George tonight, which kind of leveled the playing field with Boston still missing Al Horford and Jae Crowder.
The Celtics started out shooting very cold from the field, hitting only 1 out of 12 three-pointers. The law of averages corrected itself quickly, however, as the Celtics finished out the first half hitting 3 straight three-pointers, helping to eliminate a double-digit deficit and take the lead.
In the 2nd half, the Celtics got a shot of adrenaline from an unexpected source. James Young impressed everyone with his heady play and sweet shooting. He scored 12 points (including 2 three-pointers) and grabbed 3 rebounds and 2 steals in just 16 minutes of play. It seems like (at least for now) he’s taken Gerald Green’s spot in the rotation.
Kelly Olynyk looked solid all night, finishing with 16 points. Terry Rozier had a good game as well, contributing 11 points and 6 rebounds. Amir Johnson added a near double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Speaking of rebounds, the Celtics actually won the battle of the boards for once. On the other hand, they still gave up a lot of second-chance points.
Isaiah Thomas was very quiet for much of the game but saved the best for last, scoring 6 points in the final minutes to help put the game away.
One particular play near the end was exactly what you want to see from the Celtics. While Olynyk guarded his man at the three-point line, Avery Bradley snuck up behind him, picked his pocket, and flung it to Marcus Smart, who smartly touch-passed it up the court to a streaking Isaiah Thomas who scored on a layup. Game over.