Irving leads Celtics past PacersThe Sports Xchange
November 26. 2017 1:40AM
Boston (18-3) shot better than 50 percent from the field for the first time all season, overcoming a poor first half to shoot 56.3 percent on the evening.
Myle Turner led the Pacers with 19 points and six rebounds, but was limited defensively for much of the second half because of foul trouble.
Indiana (11-9) entered the game shooting an NBA-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range, and looked as if it would continue that rhythm, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, while the Celtics connected on only 4 of 15 from deep.
A spinning hook from Domantas Sabonis gave Indiana a 42-29 lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter, its largest lead of the night. Sabonis finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Pacers led 54-45 at halftime and never trailed in the first half, thanks in part to a 12-point first quarter from Lance Stephenson, who started in place of Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is averaging a team-best 22.8 points per game, but injured his knee in Friday's 107-104 win over the Toronto Raptors. Stephenson finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Boston opened the second half on a 7-2 run, and steadily gained momentum as Indiana cycled through substitutions due to foul trouble. The Celtics took a 63-62 lead, their first of the night, with five minutes remaining in the third quarter following a 3-pointer from Terry Rozier. Back-to-back buckets from Horford and Rozier extended Boston's lead to 72-66, prompting Indiana coach Nate McMillan to call timeout.
Boston locked down defensively in the second half, outscoring Indiana 37-16 in the third quarter. The Pacers shot 6 of 18 in the third quarter, including 0 of 6 from 3-point range.
Marcus Smart finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Celtics, shooting 7 of 8 from the field, and Jayson Tatum added 11 points.
NOTES: Indiana C Myles Turner has recorded at least one block in every game this season, and is currently tied for fifth in the NBA in blocks. ... The Pacers play games on back-to-back nights on 14 occasions this season. Only three NBA teams will play fewer back-to-back games. ... Indiana F Domontas Sabonis was shooting a team-best 56.6 percent from the field this season entering the game, which ranked 11th in the NBA. He was 5 for 13 on Saturday. ... Boston F Marcus Morris did not play Saturday due to a sore knee. ... Boston G/F Jaylen Brown also sat out Saturday for undisclosed personal reasons. ... This was Horford's third game of the year with 20 or more points.