Good, bad, & ugly: C's overwhelmed by Pacers

Good, bad, & ugly: C's overwhelmed by Pacers
December 22, 2013, 9:15 pm
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On more than one occasion, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has talked about this Indiana Pacers team being the best he has ever seen.

They certainly put on a dominant showing against the Celtics on Sunday with a relatively easy 106-79 win over Boston.

Indiana (22-5), owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference, defeated the Celtics playing to their strengths - defense, scoring around the basket, rebounding and balanced scoring.

Boston was held to just 38.1 percent shooting, and was only able to score 22 points in the paint versus 50 by the Pacers.

Paul George (24 points) led the way, but stealing most of the attention when the game was all but over was Pacers guard Lance Stephenson who tallied his third triple-double of the season with 12 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

And Indiana won the battle of the boards by a decisive margin

"They're really good," Stevens said after the loss. "And secondly, we weren't very good. Double-whammy."


Lesson learned

This was the kind of game that gave the Celtics an up-close view of just how far away they are from being one of the NBA's elite teams. The Pacers are operating on a completely different level than Boston, something that comes as no surprise to anyone. But in case there was any doubts as to how huge a gap that exists between the two teams, games like Sunday's loss serve as a painful reminder.


Ball movement

Once Boston fell behind big, too many players like Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford began to look more for their scoring and ditched ball movement. That resulted in a slew of one-on-one misses. One of the more telling stats was that Boston's Kelly Olynyk and Phil Pressey sharing the team-lead in assists with four. The Celtics' starting five had a TOTAL of four assists for the night.


You don't expect Boston to win this area, but being more competitive isn't asking too much, right? The Celtics, which lost the rebounding battle 53-41, showed little fight around the basket for more than a possession or two, well short of what's required to compete let alone beat, the Pacers.


Poor effort/execution

Maybe it was Sunday being a back-to-back game. Maybe it was facing the best team in the Eastern Conference. Whatever the reasons for it, there was an overall lack of effort and execution for most of the night by the Celtics. Give the Pacers credit. What they did to Boston, they have done to most teams. But the Celtics made things much easier for the Pacers than they should have been.