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Behind 18 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds from Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to 13 games by beating the Indiana Pacers 99-88. It is the 7th longest winning streak in the illustrious history of the Celtics franchise, and is Pierce’s 7th triple-double (first since March of 2006) to go along with the first consecutive 10+ assist games of his career.
The story of the game was second chance opportunities for Indiana; 16 offensive rebounds allowed them to take 96 field goal attempts, 20 more than Boston. But they only made 34 of those attempts, compared to Boston’s 41 buckets. A few terrible foul calls on the Celtics when they were the ones who were fouled kept Indiana in it as well, but Boston picked it up at the end.
In the 1st, Boston opened up a six-point lead and later an eight-point lead, but poor shooting and a failure to get stops allowed Indiana to eventually tie the game at 21. It would have been worse if Roy Hibbert hadn’t allowed Shaq to score two extra points on two different lane violations. Nevertheless, a 9-0 run put Boston up 30-21 before Indiana scored two before the end of the quarter.
Indiana opened up the next quarter with two threes, and after a minute of poor play on both sides, took the lead on a pair of free throws. After back-and-forth put the score tied at 40, Paul Pierce and Solomon Jones were each hit with technicals for jawing. Boston put the lead back up to six, before Indiana reduced the score to 51-48 at the half.
Indiana took the lead 57-56, despite several fouls and turnovers, thanks in part to Doc Rivers racking up a technical, before Nate Robinson put the C’s back up by one. Then, the Pacers got six offensive rebounds in a row, but couldn’t convert on any of the seven shots. The familiar pattern of back-and-forth shots, stops, and turnovers kicked in, including a 3:17 stretch without anyone scoring, before the score settled at 69-65 Celtics to end the 3rd.
Indiana could only get the differential to one and three points, before Boston started opening up. Mike Dunleavy getting called for a technical and then a loose ball foul didn’t help their cause. Boston stretched the lead to nine before Indiana closed it to four once more, and then Boston pushed back for good, opening up the first double-digit lead of the game (93-83) with 2:25 remaining. Boston stretched the lead to 99-86 with 56.4 seconds remaining before Indiana added the last bucket (and another offensive rebound) to settle the score to its final before game’s end.
Pierce’s triple-double makes this a no-brainer. Six more steals, and he would’ve had a quadruple-double. Add nine blocks and it would have been a quintuple-double too.
In 5:32, Bradley missed a shot and both of his free throws. His presence on the floor resulted in a net loss of eight points.
“When he [Rajon Rondo] goes down, it puts more pressure on me … to create offense.” – Paul Pierce, on his adjustment in the wake of Rondo’s injury