Indiana Pacers (11-1) 97
Boston Celtics (4-10) 82
I feel like with these game recaps for the Indiana Pacers, it’s writing the same thing over and over again. The Pacers are down at half, come out strong in the third, and finish up strong in the fourth quarter to win the game. After 12 games, that’s been the formula most of the way. The Pacers have trailed at halftime in 9 of the first 12 games. You look at the one loss to the Chicago Bulls this season, and the Pacers couldn’t complete the comebacks they had made previously. The Bulls were the stronger team throughout that game, so the outcome was hardly in doubt most of the way there.
But last night’s game against the Boston Celtics, the Pacers were just waiting to pounce on the Celtics and pounce they did in that third quarter. How’s this for some lockdown defense? 8 points allowed in the third quarter. Just 8 points. To me, that’s about as well as you’re going to defend in a quarter. Even the really bad teams usually put up 10 points in a quarter, but holding any team to single digits is downright impressive. The Pacers used that third quarter to finish strong in the fourth quarter as they put up 30 points to pull away. The lead got up to as much as 18 points, and the Pacers win this one 97-82.
I am all about the team’s effort in this one, but still some individuals do deserve their just dues for their performances. Luis Scola scored as many points on his own as the Boston Celtics’ second unit with 17 points. I don’t think we will see Scola score that many often, but getting double figures consistently will help out. He was able to play some solid defense as well, and he ended up playing that whole fourth quarter to give Roy Hibbert some rest to be ready to go for tonight’s game. That’s why having Scola around is a great thing. He can play a bit at the center position, and do what he needs to do.
Paul George has another strong second half with 17 points there to finish with 27 points. Just continuing his trend of scoring 20 plus a game, which is a fantastic place for George to be in. He’s got that look that you just know he wants to take over, and he was part of that take over in the second half.
Lance Stephenson comes out with another triple double. Two of those for Stephenson on the season just shows what an all around player he is becoming. He’s the only guy with two triple doubles this season. Stephenson is becoming that player you can count on in all facets of the game.
But if I had to give a game ball out to one player, it’s going to be David West, who just put the team on his back in that third quarter. He outscored the Celtics by himself in that third quarter with 10 points. He’s a guy that I thought was slow out of the gates, but has come around the past few games. He’s someone that you know what you’re getting every time he steps out on the floor. 17 points and 8 rebounds is right where West should be, so it’s great to see him get that last night. He had that look in the third quarter that you knew he was going to score a bunch of points.
Now the Pacers will head back to Indy for a date with the Philadelphia 76ers, who were the feel good story after three games. They’ve crashed back to Earth after that, but still are .5 games out of first place in their division. The Pacers will have to be ready to go this evening as I would love to see a complete game from start to finish from this team. Sure, it’s great to end the game strong. But if the Pacers dig themselves a hole in the first half, they might not be able to come back. That’s why it’s important to be strong throughout the game, and being favored by 14 points tonight shows me that tonight’s game needs to be one of those complete games. Leading from start to finish should be the way the Pacers handle the Sixers.