Celtics use second-half defense to down Pacers in Game 1

  • Celtics use second-half defense to down Pacers in Game 1

Celtics use second-half defense to down Pacers in Game 1

By doing the right things, Boston accomplished what only two defenses could in 2460 tries over the course of the regular season: hold a team to fewer than 75 points.

In the third quarter of Sunday's postseason matchup between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers (a home game for Boston), Celtics and Pacers fans paid their respects to Hall of Famer Larry Bird, giving the former forward a standing ovation and serenading him with chants of "Larry" when he was shown on the Jumbotron. But it is going to take more than one middling performance against an overmatched opponent to prove that Boston is going to be a serious threat to emerge from the East - especially with Marcus Smart out of the picture for the foreseeable future. Game 1 will give us a good look at the individual matchups that will define the series but, on paper, nearly all of them go in the Celtics favor.

"Any time you get any days off is great for us".

The Celtics, to their credit, did that.

They found out in their Game 1 win over the Pacers that they are equipped to win an ugly, physical game as well.

Boston finished the game shooting 36.7 percent from the field, with 20 turnovers.

- Sunday marked Kyrie Irving's first playoff game for the Celtics, and the 27-year-old certainly didn't disappoint.

Both teams shot under 40 per cent for the game.

He led the scoring charge during the Celtics' ridiculous third quarter run where they held the Pacers to just two field goals in the frame. "I thought he played big and strong and rebounded the ball for us on the defensive end". That third quarter was huge for them. If you add up all the other quarters, we win. "We were really playing hard".

Young's statement was as obvious as declaring that the earth is round or the sky is blue. Now they're without Marcus Smart and facing No. 5 seed IN, which the Celtics beat 3-1 straight-up IN the regular season (2-2 against the spread).

Much was made after the game about Boston's defense in the second half as a whole - especially that third quarter - after in forgot how to score. In truth, though, the Pacers' issues were as much their own doing as anything the Celtics did. Not surprisingly, the second-half numbers - 3-for-18 from the field and 0-for-8 from 3-point range - were far, far worse. "I appreciated that. I think we all did".

"They got the momentum and never let that go". The Pacers didn't get their first field goal of the second half until Joseph dropped in a layup with 3:38 left in the third.

The Boston Celtics are in the playoffs for a fifth straight season and haven't been bounced in the first round since 2015-16. Considering their playoff run past year without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics were expected to be among the top contenders, but have underachieved and enter the playoffs as the East's No. 4 seed. "There's no time to really hamper on the mistakes that happen in the first half".