Post-Game Grades: Pacers fall short against Celtics


A look back — with a few days perspective — at the Indiana Pacers loss to the Boston Celtics. It wasn’t bad, but it should temper expectations.

Final. 108. 18. 98. 100

Blame the Indiana Pacers not having Victor Oladipo for their loss to the Boston Celtics. Blame the tryptophan from turkey leftovers for me not posting this in a timely fashion.

Both are excuses.

The loss to Boston served as a reminder to the Pacers that they’re still not where they want to be, no matter how fun the current team is. The second-unit was without Lance Stephenson, but their third-quarter woes, along with the starters, was the team’s undoing.

Indiana controlled the other three-quarters of the game, but the 36-16 beat down in the penultimate quarter was enough for Boston to get by the Pacers. Al Horford’s 12 points and Terry Rozier’s 8 were the main drivers of the Celtics offense, but ultimately it was their defense that proved the more decisive phase of the game.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Indiana went 6 of 18 (33.3%) from the field in the third while missing all six of their 3-point attempts. Boston’s 11-3 rebounding advantage played a large part as well.

The loss is mostly meaningless for Indiana as they weren’t expected to win despite a good showing at home. Perhaps Victor Oladipo would have changed the outcome, but the Celtics were without two of their players, so that’s a mostly moot point.

The Good: The Pacers showed us their capable of keeping pace with the Eastern Conference’s best by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers and not getting beat up by the Celtics. However…

The Bad: This team still struggles to rebound at times, and without Oladipo, we saw how their offense bogged down quickly.

MVP: Myles Turner is still sorting things out as we’ve seen, but he led the way for Indiana with 18 points. However, he was one of only three players with a positive plus-minus. Even if he doesn’t rack up stats, his effect on the game shouldn’t be underestimated.

LVP: Bojan Bogdanovic shot under 50% and didn’t make a 3-pointer, which is a bad night for him. Oh how expectations have risen.

X-Factor: Domantas Sabonis’ 5 of 13 performance was poor, but he still finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds. He’s not ready for primetime yet, but he’s still making the Pacers a much better team.

B-. 5 of 11 (45.5%) is fine, but not nearly good enough for the Pacers to beat the Celtics without Oladipo. Collison is having a great season, but he isn’t able to take over in the same way Oladipo can in games.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. C-. His 5 of 12 shooting night was below his normal standards, and it was the first time since October 25th against the Thunder that he went without a 3-pointer.

THADDEUS YOUNG. C-. Going 5 of 12 for 11 points and 6 rebounds epitomized the Pacers night in a way. It wasn’t a bad night for Thad, but it wasn’t enough, either.. PF. Indiana Pacers

MYLES TURNER. C. Meh. Needed to step up but we’ve seen that Myles Turner is still finding is happy place after a stop-and-go start to the season.. C. Indiana Pacers

B. For the cult of starting Domas over Myles, this game will be looked over as he didn’t play very well even with the starters.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

A. Did very well replacing Oladipo by going 5 of 9 (55.6%), 2 of 5 from deep for 16 points. His 8 rebounds and 5 assists helped as well.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

CORY JOSEPH. C-. When you go 2 of 5 in the game and play poor defense, you’re going to have a bad time.. PG. Indiana Pacers

B. Injuries forced Damien Wilkins into action, but he played well going 2 of 3 from the field and creating offense for his teammates.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DAMIEN WILKINS

Next: Being thankful for these Indiana Pacers

The Pacers went on to beat the Orlando Magic on Monday and will face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at 8 p.m.