The Boston Celtics delivered a knockout blow against the Indiana Pacers Friday night with a 117-97 victory to set the tone for a first-round playoff matchup.
If there was ever a time for the Boston Celtics to flip a switch, it was Friday night against the Indiana Pacers in a game that was built up as an important battle between two teams currently fighting for the No. 4 playoff position.
Following back-to-back wins against the playoff hungry Miami Heat, the Celtics proved they mean business by dominating the Pacers just about throughout the game with a 117-97 runaway victory.
In this matchup for home court advantage, the Celtics jumped out to a quick lead and then saw the feisty Pacers respond to actually take a 36-35 lead early in the second quarter. Impressively, the C’s answered by closing out that quarter by going on a 23-11 run to take a 58-47 lead into halftime.
That lead only increased in the third quarter with solid defense and crisp ball movement on the offensive end. In all, the Boston Celtics simply countered every punch the Pacers through at them. Indiana head coach Nate McMillan said before the game that the Celtics were still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and they looked like its Friday night.
"“They make you work,” McMillan said. “They’re long, they’re athletic, they’re physical. We missed some shots and some of those were at the rim, but they made us work. We’ve got to do a better job of trying to screen these guys and get free. A lot of it was taking the ball out of the net and playing a set defense. We weren’t getting a lot of stops. When you’re not getting stops and you’re playing against a set defense like that, it’s going to be tough to score.”"
In establishing home court advantage in the upcoming series, the Boston Celtics really set the tone and gave fans the following three reasons to smile.