The Celtics beat the Pacers 84-74 in the opening game of their first-round series in the Eastern Conference playoffs in the year 2019.
Again, in 2019's NBA, a team scored 74 points, and even more impressively, a team won while only scoring 84 points. In the playoffs. I never imagined myself typing those words out when I sat down to do my Game 1 recap.
Ever since Victor Oladipo went down in January the Pacers have been a grinding offensive team that relies on its team defense to keep them in games. What I'm getting at, is that I didn't expect this to be a high-scoring, entertaining series, but an 84-74 final with an eight-point third quarter from Indiana is dreadful.
Boston trailed at the half but came out of the locker room and went on a 15-1 run to start the third. The Pacers went about 5-6 minutes during the third quarter with just one measly point on the board. Horford and Kyrie shrugged off their respectively bad starts to the game.
The talent discrepancy is fairly large with an Oladipo-less Pacers team, so when the Celtics show that extra burst, they're gonna win some lopsided quarters like that one.
The Celtics actually were outscored 21-20 in the fourth quarter but at that point, the Pacers had been shooting so poorly, they'd have to do a total 180 to be able to put a run of more than one or two made shots together.
Kyrie barely played, and Al was taken out after he hit a lucky three that rattled around the rim. Not having to play your team's two most important players in the fourth quarter is actually good. Two off-days coming up, let them rest now and get some extra time off their feet before these games really start to wear on them.
Game 1 was not a satisfying game to watch, some might even call it “ugly.” Just like I did above. But a win is a win is a win. Keep building off of this defensive performance and the Celtics should (hopefully) be able to make it a quick series. Perhaps score more than 84 points and it should be smooth sailing.