Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pacers 97, Celtics 84: Three in a Row, Finally

The Pacers won their third game in a row for the first time in eight tries, as they outlasted a depleted Celtics team, 97-84. Much like last night's game against the Hawks, the Pacers traded blows with the Celtics in the first half before starting to take control of the game in the third quarter. At least I thought they took control when the Pacer lead hit 18 at the start of the fourth quarter. However, the Celts would not go away and when the Pacers appeared to take their foot off the gas and couldn't buy a bucket, the C's were suddenly within four points. The foul stench of disaster was in the air, but Danny Granger came up with a three pointer to end the run, followed by a nice and 1 three pointer from JO which turned out to be the death blow to Boston's comeback bid. Items of interest:
  • The Celtics were one hurtin' unit tonight. Paul Pierce, Wally Sczcerbiak, and Delonte West were all out of action and then Tony Allen was carried off the floor in the third quarter after hurting his knee.
  • Speaking of Tony Allen, where was I when this guy became a factor. Prior to the injury, he had to be accounted for and was taking it at anyone who tried to check him. The new Garden might want to mix in a stretcher or wheel chair of some type so the next time a guy blows a knee they don't have to rely on three guys grabbing a limb and trying to haul him to the locker room without dropping him.
  • Jamaal Tinsley played much of the first quarter like a second string, JV PG with no regard for the value of the ball in his hands. As the game progressed he turned it around to finish with 17 points and 13 assists. Once Tins started dueling Bassy in the second quarter it lit a fire under him. He loves to take on the NYC guards.
  • Jermaine O'Neal played on his tender ankle again and struggled early, not getting up on his jumper while favoring the ankle. He seemed to get comfortable in the second half and asserted himself to end with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
  • JO was on the bench when the Pacers lead began dwindling. A big reason for the lost lead was Al Harrington trying to get his, or "go Artest" as he would put it. With JO on the bench and a big fourth quarter lead, Al turned into a black hole on offense and had three or four terrible possessions in a row that ended in badly missed shots. In a blink of an eye, the lead was under ten.
  • The Celts have some nice young talent with Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Rajon Rondo, and Al Jefferson. Intelligent pro players? Not exactly. The third quarter was a comedy of errors for the C's as they seemed to turn it over on every other possession. If these guys can apply some hoops smarts to that talent, they'll be onto something.
  • Clark Kellogg had a nice line about Gerald Green after he elevated to an eye popping level for a miss-timed alley oop. Special K said something to the effect that, "The youngster has yeast in his shoes. He will rise on you in a hurry."
  • This win was quite valuable for the Pacers with the Bulls, Pistons, and Bucks all losing Wednesday night. The Pacers are now tied with Chicago and 1.5 games behind the Pistons.
  • The Pacers get another crack at Dallas when the Mavs visit Conseco Fieldhouse on Friday night.

(Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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