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Celtics complete season sweep of Pacers with 109-100 win

A balanced offensive effort by Boston gave them the edge over Indiana

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics took the court against the Pacers tonight in a potential playoff preview. Al Horford opened the scoring for the Celtics and notched some quick assists as well. However, after a quick start, the offense struggled. Their six turnovers killed them in the first quarter. However, their defense was stout, even after allowing quite a few offensive boards.

One of the strengths of this Celtics team is taking advantage of mismatches on offense. With the offense lagging, they used this tactic to generate some points. Jaylen Brown showed off his post-up skills by nailing a turnaround jumper over the smaller Monta Ellis. Boston also benefited from a few nice matchups after Indiana switched on defense.

Despite the high praise coming into the game, Myles Turner was very quiet overall. He was nearly invisible on the offensive end. And aside from a couple blocks, his defensive presence was more marked by fouls than anything else.

The second quarter was plagued by turnovers and sloppiness from both teams. Thankfully Isaiah Thomas came alive to boost the Celtics, as the Pacers did a nice job hassling him earlier in the game. They were physical with him off the ball, and threw plenty of bodies at him when he drove to the rim. But he kicked it into gear late in the second quarter, and led the Celtics with 10 points in the half.

Indiana came away with an astounding 12 steals in the first half. Credit them for being aggressive, but the Celtics certainly helped them out with some bad passes too. Luckily, Boston’s 46% three-point shooting bailed out an otherwise poor offensive showing. Their defense also did a good job to contain Indiana’s (mediocre) offense. Paul George got his points, but the rest of the Pacers were mostly held in check. The Celtics took a 49-42 lead into half.

Thomas came out gunning in the third quarter, and finished with 11 points in the period. He’s closing in on the Celtics record for most threes in a season, and he added a few tough ones in the quarter.

Boston torched the Pacers in the paint. Crowder snuck behind the defense for a few easy layups, and Zeller threw down a monster dunk in transition. Thomas was the star of the quarter, but it was a great team effort from Boston. After the poor passing display earlier, there was great ball movement from the Celtics. Eight different Celtics scored in the quarter, and the lead ballooned up to 14.

This year it’s felt like the Celtics haven’t been able to blow out teams, and just let them hang around in the fourth quarter. This game fit the pattern. Boston’s shooting was very cold to start the quarter. They could only muster 5 points after six minutes went by. Paul George and the Pacers went on a 10-0 run to bring the game back into striking distance. After the lead dipped down to 6, a couple timely baskets from Olynyk and Thomas put the game away. Indiana gave them a scare, but they finished out the game easily after that point.

Paul George ended the game with 37 points, but he didn’t have much help other than Teague’s 25. Thomas led the Celtics with 25 points of his own, and four other players scored in double figures. Boston’s depth and variety of scoring options came up big in getting them the win.

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