The Pacers led by seven at halftime, but Boston outscored the Pacers 26-8 in the third quarter, taking the lead and comfortably holding onto it for the rest of the afternoon. Kyrie Irving is averaging 20 points and seven assists while Marcus Morris is averaging 20 points and seven rebounds.
Boston's offense finally came alive in the third quarter when they played with some gosh darned PACE!
The Pacers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games, 7-16 ATS in their last 23 road games and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Wednesday games.
Defensively, the Pacers held Boston to its lowest point total of the season, limiting the Celtics to just 36.4 percent shooting. Although it looked like a worrisome situation in the first half, Boston will certainly take the W this way. The absence of Smart, who is out for several more weeks because of an oblique injury, loomed large; the Celtics, playing without one of the league's best perimeter defenders and one of its most fiery competitors, looked a step slow and oddly disengaged.
- Celtics flip the game in the third quarter.
While his team was able to recover from a dismal start, Stevens said the Pacers' defense deserved credit for making things hard on them throughout the game.
Smart could very well be out for the duration of Boston's playoff run unless they make it all the way to the NBA Finals.
"Nothing special", Bogdanovic said before adding, "It's just playoff basketball".
While you can totally win games with defense, I'd like to see Boston hit some shots in Game 2.
"We handled them pretty well in the first half, so it was their turn to make adjustments", said Darren Collison. Getting all those jitters out for the first game, I'm always happy just to get the feel-out game out of the way.
In total, IN scored just 29 combined IN the third and fourth quarters, and though the defense was able to hold the Celtics IN check, it wasn't enough to overcome the prolonged offensive draught IN the second half.
"I've been in a few playoff games like that, I've been on both ends", Irving said. Just the focus level on the game plan really comes to the ultimate level and we depend on each other that much more. The Boston Celtics are allowing 22.2 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 55 rebounds per game. And of those 12 points, five came after Brad Stevens had emptied the Celtics' bench.
But given how things started in Toronto and Philadelphia this weekend, the Celtics will take a win and a lead over the alternative.