Celtics dominate Pacers with historic offensive performance
The new-look 3-0 Boston Celtics took on the 2-1 Indiana Pacers and old friend Aaron Nesmith on Wednesday night and the Celtics offensive firepower was on full display early. The Pacers have given the Celtics tough battles the last couple years but this was not one of those nights as the C’s cruised to a 155-104 win at TD Garden.
The Celtics started the first quarter on fire going on a 10-0 run in the first 3 minutes of the game forcing Pacers coach Rick Carlisle to call an early timeout to try and stop the bleeding. The Celtics offensive barraged continued though as they scored 20 points in the first 5 minutes of the game with every starter contributing.
The offense continued to dominate in the first quarter with the Jayson Tatum showing why he’s one of the MVP favorites hitting 3’s and muscling in and-ones. The Celtics defense wasn’t stellar in the first quarter allowing the Pacers to score 25+ points but Al Horford managed a few steals and the offense was so dominant shooting 76.2% in the quarter with eight 3 pointers, they’d end the quarter with a 44-27 lead.
The Celtics great play continued in the second quarter as they extended their lead to 20 and held it there for most of the quarter. The Celtics defense continued to not be at their best but when the offense was going like it was it doesn’t really matter. Tatum, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown all had double digit points at the half. The Celtics shot 54% and 10-17 from 3-point range to take a dominant 75-54 lead into the half.
The story from the teams blowout win over the Wizards was a fear of lack of bench scoring but even the bench scored 14 points in the first half to help extend the lead. According to Celtics legendary statistician Dick Lipe this was the first time since stat tracking started in 1950 that the Celtics scored 75 points in back to back first halves.
The Celtics showed no signs of letting up early in the second half, led by Tatum extending his game high 26 points early in the third quarter. The offense continued to roll in eye opening fashion extending their 21 point halftime lead to 45 points halfway through the third 94-59.
At this point the game was more than out of hand for the Pacers and it turned into the Celtics trying to stay healthy and finding out more about their bench. The third quarter ended with the Celtics bench on the floor letting the Pacers cut into the lead but only slightly as the Pacers were on pace for one of their worst 3-point shooting nights in team history ending the quarter with a 38 point lead 109-71.
There wasn’t much defense in the fourth quarter but the Celtics bench bounced back after a poor performance keeping the lead intact. Sam Hauser and Luke Kornet hit a couple shots early in the fourth to get the second unit more comfortable and the team rolled from there. The Pacers continued their horrid 3 point shooting with eight minutes left in the 4th they were 4-for-32 from beyond the arc.
The Celtics flirted with a 50 point lead for most of the 4th quarter, letting their starters rest is huge for a team with an older Al Horford and an injury prone Kristaps Porzingis. Payton Pritchard helped Hauser and Kornet in the 4th adding 11 points of his own in the quarter. A pair of Oshae Brissett free throws with 4:29 left in the 4th gave the Celtics a 51 point lead against his former team.
–Celtics should walk to a top 2 seed in the East if they stay healthy.
–Derrick White and Jrue Holiday have already solidified themselves as the best backcourt in the NBA.
–Jayson Tatum’s MVP chances are only gaining more steam.
–Kristaps Porzingis doesn’t have to be even a top 3 player on the court every night for his team to win. (something I’m sure he’s very unfamiliar with).
–Star Watch (strictly in blow out games) Joyner Lucas, Mark Wahlberg and Alexandra Cooper were the biggest stars at the game tonight.