Pacers 103, Celtics 96: Smothered Chicken
The Pacers came out of the blocks slowly and fell behind early to a scrappy Celtics squad. Scrappy alone doesn't get it done, though, and this injury-riddled Celtics team just isn't very good right now. The Pacers managed to stay out of the C's way as they self-destructed with travelling calls, offensive fouls, and poor offense in general. The Pacers took a 20 point lead into the fourth and held off the C's through a strange finish for the 103-96 win. In the end, a W and two days off should leave smiles all around. More thoughts:
- Marquis Daniels was inactive tonight, resting his knee. Never thought the Pacers would miss his offense, but they could've used a few of those little runners tonight.
- Between Daniels' injury and Dunleavy's foul trouble, Rawle Marshall saw plenty of burn. The kid is a little out of sync on offense but he can flat out defend. His six missed free throws contributed to the score being closer than the game played.
- Rawle served up the defensive play of the night with the help of Pacers' commentator, Quinn Buckner. Szczerbiak made a baseline move and went up for a runner only to have Marshall recover and stuff Wally's shot attempt. That brought QB to the edge of his seat as he exclaimed, "Oooooooooo, smothered chicken!" Kind of captured the essence of this game.
- Jamaal Tinsley led the Pacers with 28 points on a variety of pull up jumpers. It was another day at the office for JO, finishing with 25 points and 8 rebounds.
- Dunleavy and Murphy struggled again, although Murphy did get it going a little in the second half. Dunleavy had two fouls, 20 seconds into the game and never really factored in the rest of the night.
- The Celtics point guard situation drastically changed since the last meeting. Bassy Telfair was third off the bench and only saw extended minutes because starter, Delonte West couldn't go in the second half due to sickness. Rajon Rondo is freaky quick with the ball but still remains benign from 18 feet and out.
- The Celtics ended the game with 40 fouls which ended up being a decent game plan since the Pacers missed 17 free throws.
- The missed free throws combined with a few bad turnovers and a defensive effort that was more interested in keeping the clock running, allowed the Celtics to sneak back into the game late. The C's ended the fourth quarter with 40 points but couldn't get enough breaks to catch the Pacers. Strange game.
- Speaking of strange, seeing Rupert from Survivor behind the Pacers bench qualified. I'm surprised he's not down in Miami working an angle with CBS and the Colts. I guess it's still early in the week.
- The Pacers have two days off before the Kobe and the Lakers come to town on Friday night.
(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)