Finally! A game the Celtics NEEDED to show up for, and they played beautiful ball from start to finish. They’re now looking at home-court advantage in the first round against these same Pacers with tonight’s easy win.
Don’t get me wrong- it was close for much of the first half until the Celtics started to pull away at the end of Q2, but from there on out it was smooth sailing. There aren’t many games this season you can say that about.
And, oh yeah, Gordon Hayward is officially BACK ladies and gentleman (unless of course he isn’t, in which case, I’m trusting that you’ll completely forget I said any of this). My guy used his wife’s IG shoutout the other night as motivation and remained aggressive as hell all night long – finishing 9/9 from the field and 3/3 from the line for 21 points without a shot from deep. He’s now dropped 20+ points in back-to-back games for the first time in a Celtics uniform. We’ve all been waiting for aggressive-Hayward to show up, and he couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Celtics rolled. The defense was strong, and they dropped 117 against the #1 ranked defense in the NBA. If this was any indication of what we can expect in the playoffs, we’re going to be in for a fun couple months. Celtics walk away with this one, 117-97.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Honestly, not much. I feel like we’ve dogged on this team enough this season – and deservedly so – so I think we’re just going to go ahead, sit back, and bask in the glow of this win (just ignore the fact they only shot 25% from deep). We may be making Red’s Army history here, and Chuck might hate me for this, but I don’t care: NOTHING WENT WRONG FOR ONCE!
- Okay, I guess we should mention Terry Rozier went to the hospital in the 3rd quarter for IV fluids, according to Brad Stevens. Plus, Baynes rolled his ankle at one point. He came back in, but look for that to likely swell up tonight and possibly be day-to-day going forward. But: ALMOST NOTHING WENT WRONG FOR ONCE!
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- You know it’s going to be a good game for the Celtics when Baynes is drilling a 3 to open the game.
- Kyrie started hot and set the tone early for an aggressive offensive attack all night long.
- This is when I knew this was going to be a “Gordon Game”.
- After giving up 27 points in the first quarter the Celtics defense tightened up and didn’t allow any more than that in a single quarter all night.
- The Celtics lead dwindled to 8 after once being up 14 .. but after a timeout and Marcus Morris subbing back in, the C’s go on a tear to bring the lead back to 15. And it was a damn fun stretch: a beautiful turn around jumper with a hand in the face made to look easy by Morris; an unbelievable lead pass in transition from Kyrie to Morris who finished strong at the rim for his second straight bucket off the bench; and, finally- an aggressive drive by Hayward that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the night and caused the Pacers to call a timeout and regroup.
- Hayward used the drive as a launching pad, utilizing a Horford screen to drill a step back 3 on the next possession, followed by another take across the lane for a jumper that rattled home. He was 7/7 from the floor for 16 points at this point and it was now officially the prettiest game he’s played in a Celtics uniform (to this point).
- The Celtics opened up a 22 point lead – the largest of the night – after a couple of Tatum dunks: one being an exclamation point that you’ll surely see a million times on NBCSN through the rest of their broadcast season. If you’ve yet to see it, allow me to be the first to show you:
- I thought the Tatum dunk was the exclamation point on tonight’s win – boy was I wrong. (Also- CREDIT TO SMART FOR A NICE ALLEY-OOP FOR ONCE!)
WHAT THE HELL?
- Seriously though, Indiana, what the hell? You couldn’t give us one good game before the end of the season? It’s going to be a long 8 days for Celtics fans and we were looking forward to a- who am I kidding- tonight was fucking awesome to watch.
- There are going to be a lot of offensive highlights in this thread, but the Celtics defense deserves a lot of credit for how they played tonight- particularly in the first half when they gave up just 47 points.
- Jayson Tatum was on a mission tonight. He finished 9/19 from the floor for a team-high 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and a block. When the team doesn’t need to rely on him as a scorer, look out.
- This is just so damn pretty.
- Smarf doing Smarf things: feeling confident shooting this from deep despite being 0/4 up to this point.
- As a Celtics fan, you know it’s a good night when Kyrie has a hell of a game but isn’t the main story. He finished shooting 50% from the field (7/14) for 17 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds.