The Celtics beat the Pacers 84-74 on Sunday afternoon, here are the key takeaways.

The Celtics took game one of their first round match-up with the Indiana Pacers 84-74. This game was truly a tale of two halves, the Celtics turned an 11-point hole into a lead that got up to 22 points. In a game where the C’s committed 20 turnovers and shot just over 36% from the floor, they won by 10 and that includes a Pacers run in garbage time.

Now, the Pacers’ struggles were not all because of the Celtics’ stifling defense, they couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean if they were standing in a boat. To put their horrific second half in perspective, they scored 8 total points in the third quarter and didn’t pass double figures in the fourth until there was 2:55 remaining. As expected, their shooting for the entire game was not great either:

  • 33.3% from the field
  • 22.2% from three
  • 57.1% from the free-throw line

To give the Celtics’ defense a little credit, they presented a match-up nightmare for the Pacers (outlined in part one of our series overview). The C’s switch all the time on defense which creates a problem for a team who relies so heavily on picks to get their offense moving.

The Celtics posted their second best defensive rating in franchise history at 77.1 and out rebounded the pacers by 13, easily making up for their 20 turnovers. We can reasonably expect Al Horford to contribute more than he did in Game 1 and we can expect the turnovers to go down. Not to discredit the Pacers but the only reason the game was close in the first half was because the Celtics couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot. If this season has taught me anything, it is to never assume this team is going to win the games they’re expected to, however, this series should not be a very long one.

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