Boston Celtics win Game 1 in defensive struggle vs Indiana Pacers

Annette Crawford
April 15, 2019

Marcus Morris and Kyrie Irving led the team with 20 points apiece. The Celtics hadn't limited a team to so few points in a playoff game since the 2010 Eastern Conference finals triumph over the Orlando Magic. Throughout the regular season, we've been in positions like that.

One never wants to assume too much from the first game in a playoff series, but a lot of the concerns for in about being able to score enough to compete appear to be valid. The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 in the fourth. The Celtics outscored IN 26-8 IN the third with a flurry of three-pointers on 9/21 overall shooting, while the Pacers were 2/19. That the Celtics were able to only underscores how abominable the Pacers were in the second half, particularly in the third quarter.

The Pacers shot just 33.3 percent from the field (22.2 percent from 3-point range). They finished the quarter 2 for 19 from the field. Boston got the first basket of the second quarter - a nifty euro-step finish in transition by Gordon Hayward - but in rattled off nine consecutive points and carried that lead into the break thanks in part to Boston's 32.5 percent shooting from the floor, 23.5 percent shooting from three and 10 turnovers, which led to 11 points. "I thought we lost a little confidence. But that third quarter really killed us".

"I think that experience, firsthand, is always the best teacher", Irving said. During that span, Boston's starters shot 3 for 7 from the field and turned the ball over four times.

As the first half wore on, there were plenty of people inside TD Garden wondering if the Celtics would find a way to generate momentum.

Prior to the game, Pacers coach Nate McMillan talked about limiting Boston from the outset, when the Celtics often build a bit of a lead (which they then often fritter away). 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.

This dunk by Brown helped jumpstart Boston's big second-half run.

"We just didn't make enough shots", Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said of the third. "It's not so much about scoring as it is about the attitude coming in and really just throwing himself into the game. Now you can really see where you can improve and where you can take advantage of weak spots".

But given how things started in Toronto and Philadelphia this weekend, the Celtics will take a win and a lead over the alternative.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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