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Boston needed a win to keep pace with Chicago, and they got it Wednesday, beating the Indiana Pacers at the TD Garden 92-80. The first thing to note was that it was “Mike and Tommy” night at the Garden. CSN-NE broadcasters Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn are in their 30th season calling Celtics games, making them the longest tenured broadcast team in the history of all of professional sports. Giant cardboard likenesses of their heads were brought out, commemorative jerseys were presented, it was a nice night. Be sure to catch their tv special about their partnership this Friday at 7:30pm EST on CSN-NE.
After some positioning, Indiana took a 12-6 lead, and pushed it out all the way to 17-9. Boston cut the lead in half, but Indiana put it back up to 20-13 before Boston cut the lead to 20-15 by the end of the 1st. Neither team had the best frame; Indiana had three chances to add points before the buzzer, but couldn’t convert. Fouls and turnovers (along with poor shooting) killed both teams in what would could have been a very high-scoring quarter.
It was more of the same for the first portion of the 2nd quarter. Boston took the lead 26-23 with 6:00 left in the half, but it was not a very pretty few minutes. Indiana only scored 1:15 into the quarter on 1/2 from the line, and didn’t get a field goal until 3:10 into the quarter, then went scoreless for another 2:59. Boston went 4:02 without a field goal in that span, and went 2:49 without a point in that stretch. An unusually friendly night foul-wise for the Celtics, combined with Ray Allen getting hot from beyond the arc, ended up giving Boston a 44-31 lead. Indiana scored the next seven, but Paul Pierce’s three-point prowess helped settle Boston’s lead at seven going into the half.
Boston pushed the lead back to 10 to start the 3rd, but two quick threes from Indiana cut Boston’s lead to 54-50. But another 2:28 scoreless streak allowed Boston the opportunity to re-open a double digit lead. More tough shooting kept the score down, thanks to yet another 2:54 scoreless streak from Indiana. Carlos Arroyo hit a three at the buzzer to give Boston a 74-60 lead, their biggest of the night at the time.
Another slew of the same streaks, fouls and turnovers allowed Boston to open up an 86-68 lead, the biggest of the night for either side. Indiana never got it back to single digits. 3:25 with nothing but free throws towards the end will do that for you. Boston only got one point in the final 2:37, but they didn’t need to score more. What mattered was that the starters got a reduction in playing time that they sorely needed.
Pierce led the Celtics in scoring (20) and non-Rondo assists (five). That’s to go along with two steals.
Rondo got eight assists, but did not record a single point or rebound in 29:47 of playing time. He’s not a scorer, so you don’t necessarily mind it, but you’d still like to see him do something else every once in a while.
“He acts on his convictions; there’s no political nonsense.” – Tommy Heinsohn, on Danny Ainge, the Perkins trade and how Ainge runs the club.