Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at TD Garden
Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Celtics 97
Scott Agness | March 1
The Pacers opened a busy week that includes five games with a 102-97 win over the Boston Celtics Saturday night at TD Garden. Though they trailed entering the final period for just the 15th time this year (6-9 in those games), the Pacers held the Celtics to 19 points over the final 12 minutes en route to their fourth straight win.
Not only were the Pacers (45-13) able to close out the Celtics (20-40), they did it with a unique lineup on the floor. With George Hill sidelined due to a bruised left shoulder suffered in Thursday’s win over Milwaukee, Pacers coach Frank Vogel went with his five best players down the stretch. That put newcomer Evan Turner, who scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, at the point.
Most of the way, the game was fairly even. The Pacers used an 8-0 spurt late in the first period to go ahead, 22-18, but their lead was just one by quarter’s end. Paul George got in rhythm early, with 13 of his team-high 25 points coming in the first 12 minutes.
Playing the entire second quarter, Lance Stephenson and Luis Scola not only allowed others to sit, but they built on their lead. Scola showed off his athleticism by hedging a screen and stealing the ball, then finishing at the other end with a flush. Stephenson, who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists, was the catalyst of the offense in the second stanza. He often brought the ball up and then made things happen in the two-man game. Indiana went into the locker room with a 55-48 lead.
Indiana extended their seven-point halftime lead to 10, but the Celtics’ energy and hustle not only kept them in the game, but put them back in front for a moment. Forward Kris Humphries had 11 in the period and it was a jumper of his that put the Celtics back in front and then a tip for a 78-76 lead entering the fourth. After just two turnovers in the first half, they gave it back to the Celtics five different times, and were even outscored in the paint, by six.
With Turner having the hot hand in the fourth — he had four of Indiana’s first five buckets — Vogel elected to leave him on the floor, confident in the fourth-year player. With less than five minutes to play, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo threw up and made a long 3-pointer as the shot-clock expired. It was initially ruled good, but after a review, it was waived off and by that time, George had scored twice.
George wrapped the game up with 85 seconds remaining when he hit a triple from the right side out of a timeout called by Vogel. It’s now a quick turnaround for the Pacers, who’ll fly home and face the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Sunday night.
Inside the Numbers
Indiana had six players score 12 points or more, led by Paul George’s 25 — the fifth time in the last six games that he’s scored 20 or more points. Turner’s 17 points off the pine is his highest output in three games as a Pacers player.
The Celtics also had six players in double figures. Jeff Green led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, and Kris Humphries posted his fifth double-double of the season: 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rajon Rondo didn’t play in the first two meetings but contributed 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in this one.
Despite being outrebounded by three, the Pacers scored 44 points in the paint to the Celtics’ 30. The Celtics, meanwhile, tallied 17 points in transition.
Shooting 50.6 percent tonight, the Pacers are now 12-1 when making at least half their shots.
“Good win for our guys. We responded to a bad turnover night the other night to a good turnover night tonight; only had nine, which is a strong effort, strong focus of ours coming into the game. Good balance amongst the starters and Evan Turner gave us a big lift throughout the whole game, but in particular down the stretch.” – Frank Vogel
“That was a big shot. Whether Paul is going early or late, we know he’s going to deliver for us down the stretch.” – Frank Vogel on Paul George’s late 3-pointer
“I missed too many easy points and I told myself when it comes back around that I have to make my shots and so I just locked in my focus and my teammates found me.” – Paul George
“He is a creator and a shot maker and really he's not even forcing shots. We are going to need everybody. One of the strengths of our team is having a bunch of guys that can make plays.” – David West on Evan Turner, the bench
Stat of the Game
Over the final 5:53, the Pacers held the Celtics to just one field goal out of 10 attempts, and to seven points.
- The Pacers have won all three contests against the Celtics this season.
- A double technical was issued on Roy Hibbert and Rajon Rondo late in the second quarter.
- Boston was without Avery Bradley, Vitor Faverani, Gerald Wallace and rookie Kelly Olynyk due to injuries.
- Andrew Bynum, who’s yet to play with the Pacers, did not make the trip.
Sunday, Mar. 2 vs Utah – 6 p.m. EST
Limited seats remain for Sunday's game against the Jazz. Find Tickets »