On Tuesday evening, the Boston Celtics tried to avoid their first season sweep at the hands of the Indiana Pacers since 1998-99.
Pre-Game Quote Of The Night: “People who’ve wanted him traded – those great, astute people … They oughta keep their mouths shut!”
–Tommy Heinsohn on the Rajon Rondo passing Bill Russell for the fifth-most assists in franchise history
(CelticsHub’s take: You tell ‘em, Tommy!)
First Quarter: Kris Humphries scored eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, but the rest of the Celtics had 12 points and shot just 28 percent. The biggest culprit: Jeff Green who was 0-for-5. We also had an Andrew Bynum sighting: in his first appearance in a game since December, he sure made an impact as he went for a game-high 10 rebounds.
Second Quarter: Luis Scola quietly dominated the quarter with game-highs in points (nine) and rebounds (five). Chris Johnson made two 3-pointers en route to matching his career-high with 14 points on the night. Kelly Olynyk, who (of course) had foul troubles of his own, took his first of two charges on Paul George. That a boy, Kelly!
Third Quarter: The Pacers extended the lead to 15 points, but the Celtics battled back. Green had a very nice reverse and-one lay-up to help the Celtics back into the game.
Fourth Quarter: Including the end of the third quarter, the Celtics ran off a 9-0 run, which led to a Frank Vogel timeout. Boston got the game to 77-76, but that was the closest the C’s would get. David West’s jumper pushed the Pacers’ lead to three points, and they then made it a two-possession game the rest of the way.
Another Rondo highlight: beautiful pass for the bucket (Credit: @MrTrpleDouble10)
MVP: Humphries and Jared Sullinger both missed double-doubles by one rebound each. They combined for 32 points on 14-of-27 shooting on a night that the Celtics shot 35 percent from the field. The bigs continue to look good for the C’s as they face strong frontcourt lineups.
LVP: The first halves from Green and Rondo were quite ugly. They combined for just seven points on 3-of-15 shooting in the first 24 minutes of the night. Between the two of them, they had only two rebounds and three assists as well.
Takeaways: Rondo, who is not expected to play Wednesday, shook off a frustrating first half and was the only player to play the entire second half in this game. He dished off half of his assists in the fourth quarter. In addition, Rondo showed off another Maravich ball fake and completed the lay-up in the final frame. Although the point guard is not ready for SEGABABAs yet, I am excited to see him for the remaining one-fourth of the season. The league’s best defense could not keep him quiet in crunch time.
Brad Stevens going to Chris Babb with 2:22 remaining was magnified when he rebounded Roy Hibbert’s missed jumper: Babb, who was hoping to outlet to Rondo, proceeded to double-dribble as he was guarded in the backcourt. The rookie mistake came with 1:57 left in the contest when it was seven-point game. After West pushed the Pacers’ lead to nine, Babb was subbed out at the next whistle.
The last time the Celtics won on the first night of a back-to-back, Bynum started for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yeah, it was a long time ago.