The Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers faced off for the second end of the home-and-home series after Boston’s overtime win on Monday night. The Celtics finally are approaching a clean injury report despite Marcus Smart missed tonight with a right thigh contusion sustained on Monday. Hot shooting from Jaylen Brown (34 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and Jayson Tatum (33 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) was enough to keep Indiana at bay for Boston’s third win in a row. In fact, Boston actually ran away with it in the second half en route to the 119-100 victory.
The Jays were everything in the first quarter. The ball was zipping from side to side as Robert Williams and Al Horford combined for some great passes that led to outstanding flow. The beneficiaries of those passes, Brown and Tatum, ended up combining for the most points in a quarter in their five seasons together with 24.
The Pacers, welcoming back Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert, were pushed again by Domantas Sabonis, who put up 17 points and 6 assists and 6 rebounds, one game after grabbing over 20 rebounds in a triple-double on Monday night. Myles Turner was much more impactful this time out with 18 points despite missing all 5 of his 3-point attempts. Caris LeVert added in 16 points and 4 assists.
The first half was frustrating in a couple of ways. The first quarter featured ball movement that makes you frustrated when you ask “why can’t they play like this all the time?” And the second quarter, after Brown’s early explosion and personal 8-0, makes you frustrated when you realize, “oh, that’s why they don’t play like this all the time.”
The third quarter demonstrated a return to the good habits on display in the first quarter, especially as Dennis Schröder was more decisive with the ball en route to a couple of timely triples. He finished the game with 23 points on 7/11 shooting.
Al Horford (8-4-4) deserves some spotlight tonight as this was one of his best offensive showings in weeks. Defensively, he hasn’t lost a step all year, but offensively, he had trouble buying a bucket in recent games. Tonight, he got a few different looks in the post and on the roll, but he played a pivotal role with his passing prowess and how he kept the ball moving when he got touches.
Finally, the Celtics didn’t collapse after heading into the fourth quarter with a lead. In fact, the ball moved around, especially when Brown and Robert Williams checked back in. Brown and Tatum took turns holding the shovel before Indiana was forced to wave the white flag. Refreshing stuff.
When the Celtics make shots . . . they win games. I know, it’s crazy. Good win against a bad team to make it three straight victories.
The Celtics travel to Philly next to take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:00 p.m. EST.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics’ sweep in this home-and-home against the Pacers tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss Boston’s crisp ball movement.