Thanks to a clutch jumper from Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics were able to grind out an overtime win against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, 101-98. Like most of their games this year, it wasn’t pretty, but the end result was a win nonetheless.
At least, that’s how head coach Ime Udoka felt after the game. Boston may not have played perfectly throughout the contest, but he was just happy they got the win.
“Ugly win and we’ll take it. We’ve been on the wrong side quite too many times, honestly. So to grind it out when we had a 10, double-digit lead, and kind of gave that away pretty quickly due to turnovers and some poor shot selection… It felt like we had a second effort… and I felt we took advantage of that in overtime. So, it was good to see that growth and improvement.”
The Celtics led by as much as 12 against Indiana, but the Pacers were able to fight all the way back. This was in large part due to some sloppy offense by the C’s, who finished the night with 20 total turnovers, all of which came in regulation.
Despite the unattractive nature of the victory, big man Robert Williams emphasized the need to stick together. After the year they’ve been having, he spoke about how great it felt to finally get a win like this one.
“It felt great for my teammates and for me to honestly say we stayed together until the end of the game. We went through adversity, a couple of arguments within the team. But we found a burst in overtime. We held it together.”
In addition, Williams was asked about a spat he had with Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams during the game. Supposedly, it was over a defensive coverage. However, Williams was quick to point out that the team is a family and families fight.
“That’s gonna happen. You grew up with siblings, even cousins, family, they’re gonna fight. It’s how you respond. You could fight and go sit in the corner or fight and still have your teammates back.”
Boston allowed only 98 points, including overtime. They’ve allowed less than 100 points in fifteen of their games this season, notching wins in 10 of those.
Tatum also spoke about the need to play and work together, but he was asked about a more specific event. After the Celtics’ loss to the New York Knicks, Jaylen Brown said that he spoke with Tatum “to get on the same page.”
With multiple outlets constantly spewing out rumors about splitting the Jays up, Tatum tried to put that to rest. At the very least, he put to rest any belief that either he or Brown didn’t want to be there. According to Tatum, they’re not only committed to Boston, but they’re committed to winning in Boston and figuring it out together.
“Obviously we live in a world where we’re on our phones and on TV. We see all the things about, ‘we can’t play together.’ And everybody in the media saying that one of us gotta go. We just had a talk about, we both want to be here. We both want to figure it out. Because it’s not many players in the league like JB. The grass ain’t always greener…. I think the most important thing is, we both want it extremely bad. We want to try to figure it out together.”
Tatum and Brown combined to score 50 points against Indiana. Including the playoffs, they are now 39-19 in games where they do just that. It wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win.