The Celtics faced off against the second best team in the Eastern Conference Wednesday on the road in Indiana. This was the team's second of back to back games after coming off a solid win against the Philadelphia 76ers. The team faced a tall task literally and metaphorically against a Pacers team that hold's the best defense in the NBA. The Pacers also have one of the best frontlines in the NBA with great big men in Roy Hibbert and David West.
In order to win this game the Celtics needed to control the paint and limit the Pacers big men on the boards. In the first half the team really struggled both offensively and defensively. They gave up a lead early and continued to trail throughout the game. Nevertheless the Celtics never game up, remained aggressive, and showed tremendous heart getting stops down the stretch and tying the game with just minutes left. In the final possession of the game Doc Rivers drew up a great play for an open lay-up for Jeff Green who finished the play with just .5 left on the Clock.
Boston, MA - MARCH 6: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics shoots a jump shot against the Indiana Pacers on March 6, 2013 at TD Garden Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Celtics did a great job of resting their veterans last night in Philadelphia and in return got huge contributions from Pierce and KG. Garnett had a team and game high 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds completing the double double. Pierce struggled shooting on the night just 4-15 but played a solid all around game good for 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Nothing was bigger than their work in the final play of the game putting the Celtics up 83-81. After the inbound Green passed the ball to KG at the elbow. Pierce then set a back screen on David West allowing Green to become wide open under the basket and KG made the pass to Jeff with a second left. Green did a good job securing the pass and finishing the go ahead bucket as time expired.
All five of the Pacer's starters finished in double digits and were lead by their All Star Paul George. George played a game high 44 minutes but was held in check primarily by Courtney Lee forcing tough shots for just 7-22 for 16 points and 6 rebounding. Roy Hibbert got off to an extremely hot start totaling 12 points and 7 rebounds in the first quarter. However after getting in foul trouble Hibbert just couldn't get it back together and remained scoreless for the rest of the game ending with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Lance Stephenson played good as well at times seeming like he was all over the court. He was able to get 5 steals leading to easy buckets that really fueled the Pacers run.
Boston Celtics' Jeff Green (8) goes up for a shot against Indiana Pacers' David West (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
While the Pacers starters played well their bench did the opposite being held to just 16 points total. The Celtics bench again played a solid game scoring 29 collectively with Jeff Green's buzzer beater winning the game. Jeff did a great job on the boards against much taller opponents grabbing 7 rebounds to go with his 11 points and 4 assists. The team also got a good performance from Jason Terry who had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
This was certainly a game one could say the Celtics "stole" from the Pacers. They trailed the entire game and managed to execute down the stretch when it mattered most. It was just a very gritty win on the second night of back-to-back games. It could arguably be their best win of the season as they battled on the road trailing all game yet came away victorious.
With a win tonight the Celtics made a big step towards moving up in playoff seeding. They also managed to extend their current win streak to four games. The team plays again on Friday back in Boston as they face the Atlanta Hawks, tip off is at 8pm Eastern Time.