The Celtics have been at their greatest this season when they’re forcing turnovers, spacing the ground and pulling down outdoors pictures.
They came upon of their Recreation 1 win over the Pacers that they’re outfitted to win an unpleasant, bodily sport as effectively.
Irving and Marcus Morris every scored 20 factors, and the Boston rallied within the second half to the beat Indiana Pacers 84-74 on Sunday in Recreation 1 of their first-round playoff sequence.
Jayson Tatum completed with 15 factors. Al Horford added 10 factors and 11 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 10 factors. It was the primary playoff sport since 2017 for Irving and Hayward after every missed final 12 months’s postseason with accidents.
“I simply attempt to be aggressive on the ball, be in the fitting spots,” Irving mentioned. “I simply actually wish to be aggressive and actually be the top of the snake.”
Recreation 2 is Wednesday night time in Boston.
The Pacers led by 11 factors within the first half however had simply eight factors within the third quarter. The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 within the fourth. The 29 factors that Indiana scored within the second half had been its worst of the season.
Cory Joseph had 14 factors for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic was the lone Pacers starter in double figures with 12 factors.
Each groups shot underneath 40 p.c for the sport. Boston hit simply 36% (28 of 77) and had 20 turnovers. Indiana related on 33% of its pictures (28 of 84) and turned it over 13 instances.
The Celtics’ 84 factors had been their fewest of the season and marked the primary time they scored fewer than 100 factors and received.
“We held them to 84 factors. We simply did not rating sufficient,” Indiana’s Wesley Matthews mentioned.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Pacers coach Nate McMillan each mentioned earlier than the sequence that the extra bodily workforce would have the sting.
After a shaky begin, it turned out to be Boston.
Boston opened the third quarter with a 22-Three run to take a 60-48 lead. The Pacers did not get their first area purpose of the second half till Joseph dropped in a layup with 3:38 left within the third. They completed the quarter 2 for 19 from the sector.
“I assumed we form of misplaced our method,” McMillan mentioned. “They acquired the momentum and actually by no means let that go.”
Likewise, Stevens mentioned his workforce discovered one thing in that quarter.
“They missed some pictures, however we had been actually related,” he mentioned. “We had been actually taking part in laborious. We had been actually flying round.”
Pacers: Went 12 of 21 from the free throw line (57.
Celtics: Outrebounded the Pacers 55-42.
Boston’s run included a quick look by Celtics Corridor of Famer and former Pacers entrance workplace govt Larry Hen, who was proven on the large display throughout a timeout.
The interval ended with Terry Rozier connecting on an acrobatic 3-pointer with 0.1 secondsremaining to place the Celtics forward 64-53. The lead grew to 84-62 on a 3-pointer by Tatum with 3:34 remaining.
Stevens went with Jaylen Brown within the beginning lineup instead of Marcus Sensible, who’s out with a torn left indirect.
However after Boston dedicated 4 turnovers within the first 4 minutes of the sport, Stevens shortly adjusted, inserting Morris and Hayward.
The change paid off with Morris going Three of four within the interval, together with two 3-pointers, and scoring 12 factors. No different Celtics participant had greater than two factors.
Whereas his workforce was capable of recuperate from a dismal begin, Stevens mentioned the Pacers’ protection deserved credit score for making issues tough on them all through the sport.
“These guys guarded their butts off,” Stevens mentioned. “That sport seemed like a 1980s playoff sport in numerous methods with the rating. Nevertheless it’s powerful. These guys are bodily. …We’ve quite a bit to get higher at.”
In his first playoff sport as a Celtic, Irving grew to become simply third participant in franchise historical past to have 20-plus factors, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the workforce. He joined Isaiah Thomas in 2015 and JoJo White in 1972.
PATRIOTS’ KRAFT COURTSIDE
Patriots workforce proprietor Robert Kraft sat courtside beside Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck. Kraft was charged with two counts of solicitation in January after police mentioned he twice paid to have intercourse with workers at a Florida spa.
Boston hosts Recreation 2 on Wednesday.