Defensively, the Pacers held Boston to its lowest point total of the season, limiting the Celtics to just 36.4 percent shooting. "I just really want to be aggressive and really be the head of the snake". Game 1 will give us a good look at the individual matchups that will define the series but, on paper, nearly all of them go in the Celtics favor.
"We just missed shots", said point guard Darren Collison. Boston did have a 26-8 edge in fast-break points, and in still lost by only a bucket, so if the Pacers can slow the pace even a little, they have a great chance to cover or even pull the upset. Two stalls down, Bojan Bogdanovic, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner - all wrapped in towels and ice - were leaning forward and discussing what had gone wrong in a corner of the locker room. IN scored 29 points in the second half, and the quarter and half were both its worst of the season.
Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics pulled off a throwback gritty performance against the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round matchup, but it surely didn't come without the C's struggling to find a comfort zone without one of its key starters in Marcus Smart.
This shouldn't surprise anyone; it's hard to imagine any team thinking it can make less than 40 percent of its shots and commit 20 turnovers and still win.
The Celtics' 84 points were their fewest of the season and marked the first time they scored fewer than 100 points and won. "We didn't shoot particularly well, but we did the little things to get this win".
Boston opened the third quarter with a 22-3 run to take a 60-48 lead. They finished the quarter 2 for 19 from the field.
"They missed some shots, but we were really connected", he said.
But after Boston committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, Stevens quickly adjusted, inserting Morris and Hayward. First up, the Celtics get the benefit of playing a Pacers team without their best player.
The change paid off with Morris connecting on 3 of 4 field-goal attempts in the period, including two 3-pointers, and scoring 12 points.
"Steal one, that's always an away team's dream", Kyrie Irving (20 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds) said after an 84-74 win at home on Sunday.
Stevens said he could tell Morris was probably going to have a good game, based on the team's two most recent practices. "That game looked like a 1980s playoff game in a lot of ways with the score".
In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Irving became just third player in franchise history to have 20-plus points, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the team.
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