Boston Celtics: Takeaways from Loss to Pacers


The Boston Celtics showcased a new starting lineup against the Indiana Pacers, but fell 100-98 in a game that went down to the wire. The Celtics dropped to 1-3 on the year, while the Pacers moved to 2-3. With the game even at 98, Monta Ellis was fouled by Avery Bradley and made both of his free throws, putting the Pacers ahead by two points.

In Boston’s final possession, Bradley tried to redeem himself, but missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired. Here are three takeaways from the Celtics’ third straight defeat:

Backcourt Snipers

Boston’s starting backcourt duo of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley shot the ball exceptionally well against Indiana. Thomas and Bradley not only accounted for 48 of the team’s 98 points, but shot a superb 7/15 from 3-point range.

On defense, the two were not as keen. Bradley’s foolish overaggressive defense led to the Pacers to take the lead with 13 seconds left and Thomas was constantly targeted in mismatches. However, do not let their defensive performances diminish the value on the other end of the court. Bradley and Thomas gave Boston’s starting lineup a much-needed spark on offense.

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First Quarter Woes and Turnovers Remain a Problem

Heading into the game, the Celtics ranked last in average points in the first quarter (20) and failed to surpass that amount in last night’s game. The Celtics scored only 16 points in the first quarter, while shooting 30% (6-20) from the field and turning the ball over five times. The team managed to finish the game shooting above 40% from the field, but turned the ball over far too many times.

The Celtics racked up 13 turnovers by halftime and finished the game with 19. The most frustrating part is that a fair number of these turnovers are unforced errors. Boston was lucky to only lose by two points because they easily could have lost by more if Indiana had capitalized on those mistakes.

Lee Looking Better, While Zeller Fades

Tyler Zeller’s disappearing act carried on as David Lee started to turn things around. Zeller played only three minutes, a season-low, against the Pacers. He finished 0/2 with one rebound, one assist, and one of the worst misses you’ve seen in a while.

On the other hand, David Lee played exceptionally better than he did in the past three games. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. Lee also ended up with registered a +5, which trailed R.J. Hunter, whose +8 was the team’s best +/-.

Next: Boston Celtics: Tyler Zeller Vanishing Act

Lee was a solid impact off the bench and provided a clutch offensive rebound that led to an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer, which put the Celtics ahead early in the fourth quarter. Overall, Lee demonstrated he still deserves his spot in the rotation, while Zeller is not helping his own cause whatsoever.