3 Reasons behind Indiana Pacers wild In-Season Tournament win vs. Boston Celtics

The Indiana Pacers took down the first-place Boston Celtics on Monday night in the In-Season Tournament, so let's take a look at how they did it.
Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Tyrese Haliburton
Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Tyrese Haliburton / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Defensive improvements

Of course, the Pacers scoring a lot of points seemed like a formality. Win or lose, Indiana usually manages to fill up the stat sheet with gaudy scoring numbers. The main factor behind Indiana's win on Monday, however, was their defense.

It's no secret that the Pacers aren't known for their defense, which has been seen as the weakest part of the team so far. Nineteen games into the season, Indiana has traded flashes of defensive potential with the usual low effort and lack of motivation on that side of the floor.

Monday was different, however. While Boston shot 47.4% from the field on the night, a decent percentage, they only shot 29.3% from beyond the arc, a remarkably low number compared to how they usually shoot.

The third quarter was particularly frustrating for Boston, as they only shot 41% from the field and 30% from three, scoring 23 points, while Indiana gained control of the game with 37 points of their own, taking a seven-point lead that they would eventually capitalize on with a win.

The defensive heroes of the night were Myles Turner, Bruce Brown, and Aaron Nesmith. Being one of the few legit big men on the team, Turner certainly showed it on the night, grabbing 10 rebounds despite usually being left at a rebounding disadvantage due to the Pacers' lack of size, and getting a steal. Speaking of steals, Bruce Brown had three of them on the night, which led to some fast break points.

Despite this, perhaps the biggest defensive contributor of the night was Aaron Nesmith. While his stats don't jump out the screen, with only a block to his name, Nesmith's hustle in drawing offensive fouls and going for every ball was key in Indiana pulling away late.

On this night, along with a few nights before this, the Pacers showed, once again, that they are not a lost cause on defense, as they slowed down one of the league's best offenses while capitalizing on every mistake made by Boston.