Boston Celtics 105-99 Win Sparked by James Young’s Big Night


Boston Celtics Pull Out Another Win On The Second Night Of A Back-To-Back By Defeating Indiana 105-99 On The Road

With a 4-4 record and sitting in the lower half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Boston Celtics had certainly been under-performing this season heading into their duel with the Indiana Pacers.

After two straight sloppy, blowout losses to the lowly Washington Wizards and the Denver Nuggets, the Celtics seemed to get back on track with a win against the New York Knicks on Friday and hoped to ride the momentum from this victory into their match-up at Indiana.

Boston had the benefit of squaring of against a Pacers squad that lacked its star small forward Paul George, who was forced to sit out with an injury. Despite this, the Pacers got off to a fast start against Boston and led 31-24 at the end of the 1st quarter. The Celtics rallied back in the 2nd quarter and led 48-45 at halftime, but Isaiah Thomas seemed to be missing from the court during the 1st half and only scored meager 3 points.

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Boy, did IT turn the gas on in the 2nd half.

Thomas fired all cylinders in quarters 3 and 4, waking up from his slump and finishing the game with 23 points and 5 assists. Thomas especially came in clutch during the 4th quarter, scoring 12 points and putting the game out of reach for the Pacers.

Although Thomas’ play was worthy of praise, the real X-factor in this game was Celtics guard James Young. Young, who has been constantly scrutinized by Boston media for not playing up to his potential, had a skillful 3rd quarter performance.

He scored 12 points in total in only 16 minutes of action, which included 2 3-pointers, and he added 3 boards, an assist, and 2 steals. Young stepped up when the offense really needed a spark in the 3rd quarter, and then handed the reigns over to Thomas, who sealed the deal in the 4th quarter.

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Nov 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) moves the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) defends in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 105 to 99. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

This may have been the breakout game that Celtics nation has been waiting for from Young, who controversially made the Celtics roster ahead of 3-point specialist R.J. Hunter. This performance was only a small sample from Young’s season, but it was certainly an encouraging performance as Young showcased his tough defensive ability (2 steals) as well as his deadly shooting range (2 3-pointers).

At the same time that this game featured strong skills from Young, it also exposed some severe flaws in Boston’s frontcourt. The Celtics simply cannot keep putting out a frontcourt of Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller, and Jonas Jerebko and expect to be competitive in the Eastern Conference.

Boston was gashed in the paint at times by Indiana’s Myles Turner (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Al Jefferson (10 points, 3 rebounds), showing a lack of hustle and insufficient effort. Olynyk is a decent scorer when he needs to be, as he exhibited against the Pacers with 16 points, but he is in no way a stellar scorer and can be a liability on defense. Johnson does do a solid job on the defensive side of the court, but he can only make up one half of a frontcourt and the Celtics can’t play him 48 minutes a night.

No matter how exceptionally the Celtics perimeter defenders play , the Boston’s frontcourt seriously needs to step up their game if the team wants to meet and exceed expectations. This team was projected to finish 2nd in the Eastern Conference in ESPN’s NBA Summer Forecast, and they have certainly not been playing up to this level.

If Al Horford returns quickly from his concussion, the Celtics’ group of big men will receive an invigorating boost. Even then, Boston’s power forwards and centers behind Horford and Johnson have to toughen up and play stingy defense in order for Boston to shoot up the standings.

Next: Celtics Beat The Knicks

The Celtics’ matchup against the Pelicans on Monday will be a true test for Boston’s big men. Although New Orleans is an NBA worst 1-9, they are a one-man show led by imposing center Anthony Davis, a force to be reckoned with in the paint. Davis is averaging a ridiculous 31.0 points per game to go along with 11.0 RPG and 3.1 BLKPG, and he may be the league’s best interior scorer, so it will be very interesting to see how Boston fares on Monday night in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.