All they had to do was go small.
In the final five minutes of the game, with Jae Crowder playing power-forward, the Boston Celtics dominated the Indiana Pacers en route to a 103-94 victory. In final stretch, the C’s small-ball line up outscored the Pacers 17-4. The Celtics were able to retake the lead after scoring 6 points after three consecutive steals.
After the Pacers opened the game by scoring the first eight points, Boston completely outplayed the Pacers, responding with a 26-6 run of their own.
Jae Crowder had an excellent first half, scoring 19 of his 25 points in the first 24 minutes. Crowder also played excellent defense on Pacers’ star Paul George, who was limited to only 4 points.
George’s struggles did not continue for long, as he started the second half very aggressively, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter.
As the Pacers clawed their way back into the game, the Celtics offense began to falter. Over a 12-minute stretch spanning from five minutes left the third to five minutes left in the fourth, the C’s scored only 11 points.
With 5:08 left to play in the game, after the Pacers took an 90-86 lead, Brad Stevens went with a small-ball line up of Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Isaiah Thomas. The Pacers only scored 4 points for the rest of the game, turning the ball over six times.
The win snapped the (20-19) Celtics four game losing streak and was only their second of the calendar year. The team will try to build on their momentum when they take on the struggling Phoenix Suns on Friday Night in Boston.
For a complete box score click here.
STUD OF THE NIGHT Amir Johnson
This was Amir Johnson’s best game as a Celtic. He was dominant force for the entire game. Johnson opened the game by grabbing nine rebounds in his first ten minutes. Johnson did a great job on the offensive glass, generating an extra eight possessions for the Celtics. He finished with 18 rebounds, 17 points, and 6 assists.
DUD OF THE NIGHT Marcus Smart
Smart has really struggled offensively since returning from injury. Tonight he took a number of questionable shots, scoring only five points in 30 minutes. Smart really struggled from beyond the arc, missing all four of his three point attempts.
VINE OF THE NIGHT Swedish Hakeem
WHINE OF THE NIGHT Jared Sullinger
After a solid performance against the Knicks on Tuesday, Sullinger really struggled tonight. He had a number of lapses on defense and only played 20 minutes.
STAT OF THE NIGHT IT and Crowder’s FG%
Thomas and Crowder combined to shoot 20 for 33 from the field including 7 of 12 from the three point line. The two accounted for more than half of the Celtics points, finishing with 28 and 25 points respectively.
@ OF THE NIGHT Three-headed pit bull