Getting Defensive: Celtics Get Physical With Pacers

First, the good news. The Celtics beat the Pacers last night at the Garden, 94-75.  The blowout win was a defensive clinic.  Avery Bradley’s return has helped smooth out the rotations (Terry to the bench) and taken some pressure off of Rondo, defensively. Courtney Lee seems to realize his days are numbered, making him more aggressive last night (13 points on 6 of 9 shots).  Rondo had his best game in recent memory, contributing in all aspects (18 points on 14 shots, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, plus 15 in the +/-).  Maybe the hip feels better.  Maybe the fact that Rondo could focus his energy on offense with Bradley back helped.  Likely, both were factors.

Before we decide the Celtics are fully back, let’s look at who the Pacers are.  For some perspective, the Pacers offense is 27th in the NBA in offensive efficiency.  They’ve scored 100 points in a game only twice over their last twenty contests.  The Pacers are 28th in pace, a stat which measures a team’s average number of possessions per game.  Teams that run give the Celtics trouble.  Milwaukee, who is 5th in pace, beat the Celtics three times in four games.  Since Danny Granger’s injury, the only offensive options they have are Paul George and David West.  George Hill, the Pacers defensive-minded, 3-point shooting PG, was out with a thigh injury.  The drop-off from Hill to D.J. Augustin is noticeable.  Hill would’ve made life tougher for Rondo, and eased the pressure on George and West (both shot a miserable 4 of 18 from the field).  So, let’s take the win for what it was: much-needed, but just a first step, and against a weak offensive team without it’s starting PG.  Still, the defense held Indiana to 32% from the field.

In one of their more physical games of the season, the Celtics were whistled for 28 fouls, and the Pacers couldn’t make them pay at the line (17 of 28).  Sullinger’s play (30 minutes, 4 offensive and 10 total boards, 6 fouls) gave the Celtics the physicality they’ve often lacked.  Of course, his defensive liabilities were minimized by the fact Indiana was the night’s opponent.  Credit the C’s with getting out of their rut.  Let’s see if they can maintain that physical-play against Atlanta in a tough back-to-back tonight and then Monday in New York.

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2 thoughts on “Getting Defensive: Celtics Get Physical With Pacers

  1. mycelts says:

    (apologies to Samuel Johnson)

    There’s a forward playing, very athletic and tall, 
    But he plays for the Pacers, George…that Paul.
    Do you think when Vogel coordinated vid for our team, 
    That coaching the Pacers was really his dream?

    Low scoring Q1, BOTH teams played D, 
    Bass got the start…but poor start had he.
    Stephenson for three, at the Cs bench he did glare, 
    He got a tech–seems only fair….

    Since just one foul was  called on the Pacers team, 
    Cs playing the Pacers–and the refs it would seem.
    Cs at 29%, lowest scoring Q1,
    Still the Pacers lead is down to just one.

    This is interesting, something we’ve seen, 
    A guy in Green, named Green, playing a guy named Green.
    Those words we love: Paul Pierce for Three,
    Rondo crossover dribble, that fake–sight to see!

    Avery Bradley, good steal and good hoop,
    Is he the one setting the D-Tone for this group?
    Cs 17-3 run, Pacers’ offense isn’t great, 
    Shall we say Cs are playing more D of late?

    KG great hustle, fell over the seats,
    Then ran down the aisle, as the Pacers he beats!
    A Rondo explosion, joined by Captain P, 
    Best half of the year, 12 point lead start Q3.

    Rondo and KG putting on a show,
    Hibbert and KG banging down low.
    Again those words: Paul Pierce for Three, 
    Tough Q Hibbert, West, Hansbrough Boys, Mahinmi.

    Sully, KG, JET, Lee and Green,
    One of the great lineups tonight we’ve seen.
    Pacers West, 4 for 18, having a frustrating night, 
    Shoving with Sully, tech on West–sounds right!

    Cs started Q4 with an 18 point lead, 
    JET and Lee connecting, just what we need!
    KG fouled a Hansbrough hard–(ejected) flagrant two,
    Ref said he hit him on the head, what could he do?

    Hooray for Bass, foul trouble but good play, 
    Rebounding, good D, a few shots went his way.
    For the Cs steals and rebounds, good shots and good D 
    At long last Celtics Ball we’ve been expecting to see.

    We saw Varnado. Barbosa’s back from Brazil, 
    For the Cs tonight this was a game of will!
    How’s this reason for the Cs winning score:
    We started and ended at the wrong ends of the floor!

  2. mycelts says:

    Excellent post! Glad I found you

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