Maybe Shavlik Randolph should abuse his teammates before every game.
During warmup drills, Randolph smacked Kelly Olynyk with an elbow to the face. Olynyk’s eye quickly swelled to the size of a golf ball, and trainers were doubtful he would even be able to play. Deciding to forego a protective mask or goggles, Olynyk opted to play and ended up leading the Celtics to a 100-87 victory against the visiting Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Olynyk and Tyler Zeller led the Celtics with 19 points apiece, while Evan Turner (13 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) submitted his third triple-double of the season. Avery Bradley (11 points) and Jae Crowder (10 points) also scored in double figures. Despite only shooting 22 percent from the 3-point line, the Celtics controlled the game for all four quarters, not relinquishing a lead they took four minutes into the game. George Hill led the Pacers with 21 in the loss.
The Celtics (34-41) moved two games ahead of the Pacers (32-43) with seven to play, and they now own the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 3-1 series victory this season. The C’s trail both the Brooklyn Nets (34-40) and Miami Heat (34-40) by a half-game for the seventh and eight seed.
For a complete box score, click here.
TYLER ZELLER DOMINATES FIRST HALF
Starting opposite 7-footer Roy Hibbert, Zeller dominated the first half, scoring 17 of his 19 points. Zeller opened the game by hitting his first four shots and drawing two early fouls on Hibbert. With Hibbert on the bench for the majority of the half, the Celtics dominated the paint, outscoring the Pacers 26-12.
SHAVLIK RANDOLPH DOES HIS PART
During the pregame shootaround, Randolph finally made a an impact on this Celtics team. During one-on-one drills, Olynyk caught Randolph with one of his patented pump fakes, leading Shavlik to elbow Olynyk directly above the left eye. Randolph noted that he had never hit someone that hard before, saying Olynyk “looked like Rocky from right before Rocky asked Mickey to cut him.”
THOMAS STRUGGLES TO FIND STROKE
Since returning from a gruesome back injury, Isaiah Thomas has shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to find his jump shot. In the last four games, Thomas is only shooting 31 percent from the field and an abysmal 21 percent from beyond the arc. Wednesday was no different, as the pint-sized point guard only scored eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. If the C’s are going to secure the final playoff spot in the East, they are going to need Thomas to start scoring consistently from the outside.
EVAN TURNER NOTCHES THIRD TRIPLE-DOUBLE OF SEASON
Playing against his former team, Turner recorded his third triple-double of the season, amassing 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Perhaps even more impressively, he committed just one turnover. Turner joined Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and Larry Bird as the only Celtics with three or more triple-doubles in a single season.
INDIANA DOESNT HAVE SECOND LEG TO STAND ON
With Wednesday’s loss, the Pacers fell to 4-12 on the second night of a back-to-back. By comparison, the Celtics are 10-5 in the same scenario, including wins in nine of their last 10. Now in possession of the tiebreaker with a 3-1 series victory this season, the Celtics essentially lead the Pacers by three games with seven to play and probably knocked Indiana from playoff contention.