The Celtics were able to come into last night’s matchup against the Pacers and pull out an impressive 100-87 victory over the fading Indiana Pacers. At an earlier point in the year the Celtics were looking far out of the playoff picture. Now the roles are reversed as we head towards the post season. The Celtics now only sit one game back from both the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat for the 8th and 7th seeds in the East. With seven games left and two of them against the 6th seed Milwaukee Bucks there is not reason to think that the Celtics could not conveniently get to the 7th seed. That would put them up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which could provide invaluable playoff experience for the young guys on this team.
Anyways back to last night’s game. The game started off on a very strange note with Kelly Olynyk getting elbowed in the eye by teammate Shavlik Randolph in a game of one on one. Luckily that certainly didn’t affect his play. The Celtics came out scoring and running the break right from the gate. This was the result of a balanced attack from the starting unit. Evan Turner had a triple double and was attacking the paint. He finished with 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. He was distributing the ball well to fellow starter Tyler Zeller. As a result of Turner’s pinpoint passing, Zeller was able to find many easy looks in the paint at the basket and was able to capitalize on them. He finished with 19 points on a very efficient 8-9 shooting. Avery Bradley had a solid 11 points and put a lot of pressure on the Pacers guards, Rodney Stuckey and C.J Miles, who were both very ineffective. It was a relatively quiet night from my favorite new player, Isaiah Thomas with only 8 points and poor three point shooting. However that is the beauty of this team. There are a lot of competitive guys and it can be a new guy contributing big on any given night. Off the bench Kelly Olynky's eye injury certainly didn’t slow him down. He scored 19 points and was 3-4 from downtown. Some of these threes were at timely moments when the Pacers were starting to climb back to within shouting distance of the Celtics. However it was Olynyk’s three that put the Celtics up 94-78 with under four minutes to play. Lastly my other new favorite player Jae Crowder got out on the break often and was able to disrupt any momentum the Pacers may have had. He finished with 13 points off the bench.
Overall the Celtics had a balanced attack and a lot of different guys were able to step up and contribute tonight. They stuck to the game plan of getting out in transition and attacking the paint and it certainly worked well for them. The team is certainly been on the upswing since the trade deadline and Celtics Nation is certainly hoping for a playoff berth for the first time in two years. The team is not perfect and the poor three point shooting that took place from the guards specifically Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner is evidence of that. The Celtics will host Milwaukee tomorrow night and should look to continue the balanced attack and hopefully the three point shots will fall a little better for us. Overall this game helped the Celtics get back on track to how they need to be playing if they want to secure a 7th or 8th seed. The future is bright for Celtics Nation!
By Spence Roush @El_Spence_Man