The Indiana Pacers had no answers for Kemba Walker on Wednesday night. Boston’s jitterbug point guard poured in 44 points on 16-of-27 shooting. Walker used a quickness advantage to consistently break down Malcolm Brogdon off the dribble, scooting past Indiana’s scrambling bigs behind him for crafty finishes by the basket. When he wasn’t headed to the rack, the Celtics’ star could be found cashing in step back jumpers and knocking in catch-and-shoot threes.
Jaylen Brown chipped in 18 points in support, as well as a career-high 8 assists, not to mention a beautiful 360 transition dunk.
Kemba with the no-look pass to Jaylen pic.twitter.com/JBCHgIys0U— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 12, 2019
None of it mattered.
The Celtics fell to the Pacers 122-117 as the result of some seriously sloppy play. Boston appeared lethargic at times, particularly on the defensive end of the court, and submitted a few too many disjointed offensive possessions that resulted in easy buckets on the break. The Celtics coughed up a putrid 15 turnovers for the night.
Indiana used Boston’s miscues as fuel for getting out on the break, scoring 22 points in transition, 17 of which were the direct result of a Celtics turnover. The Pacers were similarly reliant on getting to the free throw line, finishing the evening a collective 30-36 from the charity stripe.
Aaron Holiday was particularly effective lifting the Pacers with 17 points off the bench on 7-of-14 shooting, and infusing an extra dose of energy into Indiana’s late-game lineups. The Pacers entered the game’s final frame down by 10 points, but leveraged Boston’s inability to hold onto the ball or play sound defense down the stretch to emerge with a victory.
Malcolm Brogdon, paced the Pacers with 29 points, including an impressive 15-for-15 performance from the free throw line. Domantas Sabonis contributed 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists of his own.
There is no shame in losing to a likely playoff team on the road, but doing so when your best player puts up 44 is a disappointment. That the Celtics lost with Walker exploding the way he did is indicative of how poorly the rest of the roster played. Everyone will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers.