Without the services of forwards Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris, the now 18-3 Celtics relied on guard Marcus Smart to fill the void of Brown, who was inactive for this road game for personal reasons, scoring 15 points with 6 rebounds and 5 dimes, while the combo of Boston big men trying to bring in more offense with Morris out worked as they got the win in Bankers Fieldhouse 108-98.
Led by none other than Kyrie Irving, who powered his way through the Pacers defense for 25 points, Boston had the balanced attack pick up through the 3rd quarter, allowing only 16 points in the 3rd quarter to Indiana while dumping 37 on the Pacers to help build the first time lead into a big win. With Irving scoring the game high, big man Al Horford knew he was being relied on for contributing more than usual on the offensive end. Scoring 21 with 5 boards and 6 assists, Horford was strong on both ends of the floor, as he is typically, but was depended on for scoring. Point guard Terry Rozier gave life to Boston coming off the bench, giving an explosive 17 points while helping the C’s surge from halftime on. Forcing the Pacers to turn the ball over 19 times was an indication of transition basketball and effectively setting up more and more opportunities for the well balanced Celtics. Remarkably, Boston out shot Indiana in field goal percentage which was around 56%, a relatively high margin to shoot for. Boston also sank 40% of three point attempts, going 10-25.
For Indiana, a strong first impression was quickly erased after the first half, a decrease in offense and lack of awareness on defense. Center Myles Turner led the way with 19 points, snagging 6 rebounds with him. Guard Lance Stephenson was a major issue for Boston trying to contain, but overcame the strong Pacers in the second half. Putting up a near triple double on Boston (16 points, 8 boards and 5 assists), Stephenson was disruptive for the C’s. Following suit was center Domantas Sabonis, putting up 17 points and 8 boards and shooting a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. As a team, Indiana went 15-15 from the line, a remarkable feat to have to try and cut deficits, but could not overcome the strong second half play of the NBA league best Celtics.
Next game for Boston- 11/27 vs Detroit, the return of Avery Bradley! Mark your calendars