What to Take from Celtics Pacers Game

Celtics Guards Smart (36) and Rozier (12) celebrate after Rozier makes the game-winning dunk, beating the Pacers on December 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
The Celtics and Pacers went at it for the second time this season, and the Celtics came away with the win. Although, it wasn’t a very convincing win for the C’s. We won by one point after Terry Rozier stole the ball and got a dunk, giving the Celtics a 112-111 lead. The Pacers made a desperation shot at the end, but it didn’t go in, giving the Celtics the win. The Pacers played a good second half game however. They were able to cut away a lead of 19 and take a lead of four towards the end of the game. What can we take away from this Celtics win?
Throughout the game, the Celtics were shooting lights out. They were 61.5 percent from beyond the arc and hit 16 threes (four of which were made by Marcus Smart, who is known to be the worst shooter in the league). In the first half, the Pacers did not have any answer to the shots that the Celtics made. Tatum, Horford, Brown contributed greatly to the shooting. They were 56.6 percent shooting and had a combined 43 points in the game. Brad Stevens made the smart decision of taking out Tatum and Horford early in the game to put them in with the second unit. Going forward, this is a great strategy to be used because of how the bench can never spark any offense. Tatum and Horford can spark the offense the bench needs. The bench put up good numbers because of the help from Tatum and Horford with 37 points. While this isn’t amazing, it’s much better than before.
Throughout the game, Tatum and Rozier demonstrated immense confidence and were putting up shots they never took before. Rozier was driving to the basket and taking more mid range shots, which he needs to do to get easy points. Whenever Tatum got a little space, he was taking shots and making shots, something he needs to do more. Lastly, the athleticism of Brown, Smart, and Rozier is off the charts. They get much of the team’s rebounds and steals because the way they can move and how much effort they put into getting offensive boards and second chance points.
While the Celtics were playing a much better game in the first half, the Pacers came back with a spark in the second half. Victor Oladipo took off. He had only eight points going into the second half. He ended up scoring 38 points on the night, with 30 in the second half. He was single-handedly responsible for the Pacers getting back in the game. The Pacers produced much more team play in the second half with 12 of their 14 assists. They only had two assists in the first half, which allowed the Celtics to play easy defense. In the second half, the Celtics couldn’t contain the Pacers players like in the first half, which allowed the Pacers to score 64 points. Major props to the Pacers for getting back in this game, but they couldn’t defend Kyrie in the clutch (last five minutes of a game/overtime when the score is within five points). After it looked like Oladipo iced the game with a three bringing the Pacer lead to five, Kyrie hit two threes bringing the score within one (the Pacers made two free throws before Kyrie’s second three). Then, Rozier gave the Celtics the lead with the steal and dunk to end the game. Kyrie has taken on a role that we have missed after Isaiah Thomas was traded. The “King of the Fourth” had the second-most points in the fourth quarter and was overall a clutch player. Kyrie has taken on the much needed role of clutch player after Isaiah left.
Overall, it was a mediocre game for the Celtics, but some aspects of this game need to be used for future games. Brad Stevens should stay with the idea of keeping Tatum and Horford for the second unit to ignite some offense for the bench. Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Rozier need to keep demonstrating that they are the future of this team with their athleticism, shooting, and effort. Kyrie, if you could keep producing points in the clutch, that would be great.