Rough and imprecise game at the TD Garden in Boston between the Celtics and the Indiana Pacers which were finally awarded in the extension of the premises by 101-98 despite another heroic performance by Domantas Sabonis with a triple-double.
The Pacers center, who at times seemed more like a gladiator than a basketball player due to the amount of blows he took, had 23 rebounds, 11 points and 10 assists. The top scorer of the game was Celtics player Jaylon Brown who made a double-double of 26 points and 15 rebounds while his teammate Jayson Tatum, with another double-double, scored 24 points and 12 rebounds. But Tatum, who was decisive in the victory of his team even though he had a weak game, was also the leader of the game in losses of balls, 8 in total. Center Robert Williams III added another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, in addition to 3 blocks. In the Pacers, who arrived in Boston without 6 players, the top scorer was Torrey Craig who had 19 points after starting the game on the bench. In total 6 Pacers players scored more than 10 points.
Lack of precision
The start of the match was dominated by the lack of precision of the two teams. Williams III’s good defense over Sabonis blocked access to the paint and forced the Pacers to shoot from long range, to no avail. Up to three consecutive triples were wasted by the Pacers in the opening minutes of the game. On the other side of the court, the Celtics weren’t that much better. Tatum only seemed capable of scoring free throws, leaving the responsibility of scoring to Brown and Williams III. Clumsiness, rush and lack of ideas took over from both teams and for almost 3 minutes in the first quarter none of the 10 players on the court could score a miserable point. After 8 minutes of the game, the scoreboard showed a very poor 12-8 on the scoreboard, which was 2.5 points for every minute played. When the first quarter ended, the Celtics enjoyed a 6-point lead, 23-17, with Williams III and Brown as the most prominent of the premises with 6 points each. On the Pacers, Jeremy Lamb, who started the game on the bench, had 7 points.
In the second quarter things did not quite improve. Inaccuracy was still the dominant note on both teams. Tatum’s quality only showed in spate, like when he got to play at the post and ripped off two points and a personal one from Justin Holiday. Tatum’s three-point play put the Celtics up 10 points, 30-20 with three minutes into the second quarter. But like in the first quarter, for almost 5 minutes no one in the Celtics was able to score more than 2 points. The Pacers, without making great efforts, managed a 2-12 run to tie the game 32-32 with 4 minutes remaining. Only Marcus Smart’s reaction kept the Pacers from getting ahead on the scoreboard, and when it came to halftime, the Celtics were still up with 42-39. By then, the locals had already lost 10 balls, while those of Indiana had 6.
In the third quarter, the Pacers suffered more errors. Those of Indiana lost in that period 8 balls and gave 11 points to the Celtics. Tatum and Brown took advantage to extend the distance on the scoreboard and leave it at 8 points, 68-60 at the end of the third quarter. But the Pacers, and especially Sabonis, did not give up. With 9 minutes remaining, Indiana was again 2 points, 73-71. The Celtics could not resist the onslaught and after several consecutive failures by Tatum, Sabonis, who received everything under the rival rim, led the Pacers 75-76 with a layup. With 4 minutes remaining, the scoreboard indicated a tie 81-81. Again, for 2 minutes no one was able to score but in the final 2 minutes the baskets followed one another quickly. The Pacers went 4 points on the scoreboard, 85-89 with 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But Williams III first and Tatum in the last two seconds with a shot under pressure from two defenders, equalized the score at 89-89 and forced extra time. In the extra 5 minutes, Brown, Williams III and Tatum did not give in to the pressure, allowing the Celtics to prevail 101-98.