The Pacers came to play on Wednesday night, but unfortunately for them, so did Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics took Game 2 of their series with the Pacers 99-91 thanks to clutch performances from both Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum. Here are 5 key takeaways from Wednesday’s game.
Kyrie Irving’s Stat Line:
- 37 points
- 7 assists
- 6 rebounds
- Over 57% from the field
- 60% from three
Jayson Tatum’s Stat Line:
- 26 points
- 2 Assists
- 4 Rebounds
- 55% from the floor
- 50% from three
Jayson Tatum’s Game 2 Shot Chart
Outside of an elbow jumper and a couple baseline shots, Tatum was exactly what the modern NBA wants him to be – a shooter who takes shots that yield the highest points per shot ratio.
This season has been a major disappointment for Terry Rozier and it’s not because he isn’t talented, we know he is, especially after last year’s playoff run but he has not been that person all year. His lack of production is derived from not knowing his role within the system anymore. However, it seems like for the first time all season he simplified what he was doing on the court and fell back onto what he knows best – lock down defense. His notable stats from Game 2 were:
- Plus 19
- An NBA playoff best 62.2 defensive rating
- Highest Net Rating on the team at 24.4 (next closest is 16.0)
When Rozier is able to get out of his own way, he’s one of the Celtics’ most valuable pieces. So far Terry has avoided forcing passes, taking shots less than five seconds into the shot-clock, and gambling for big plays. There is nothing more frustrating on the basketball court than watching an incredibly talented player consistently under perform solely because they cannot get out of their own way. If Rozier can continue playing the way he has in Game 1 and 2, Scary Terry can go back to terrorizing opposing teams rather than the Celtics fan base.
Hayward has quietly had a good series so far even though his stats may not show it yet. For someone who didn’t quite look like himself for the entirety of the regular season, he looks great, his cuts are strong, his movements are more deliberate, and he’ s not afraid to get off the ground anymore.
However, Hayward’s performances might be just a little too quiet. He sits in the corner for a lot of the Celtics’ offensive possessions for the sake of spacing, but having his production depend on if someone else is going to look his way doesn’t seem right for a player as good as he is. Every time down the floor the ball should hit at least one of these guys’ hands – Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, or Gordon Hayward for their play-making abilities. Going forward I want see Hayward be more assertive in getting the ball; he is more than capable of carrying this team and it’s time the Celtics start playing like it.
4.) Turnovers, Turnovers, and More Turnovers
Despite winning both Games 1 and 2, the Celtics seem to be trying their absolute best to make sure the Pacers have as many possessions as humanly possible. The C’s have had more turnovers in both games so far, and plenty of them are because the Pacers have a very good defense, but way too many of them are because of careless passes. If the Celtics are able to go up two games to none being this careless, imagine how good they could be at full force.
5.) The Pacers Defense is Good
Throughout the whole game the pacers pressured the Celtics on the perimeter and even went with a full-court press a couple of times. Their head coach, Nate McMillan, even preached physicality after Game 1 and it looked like his players heard him. They were up on Celtics players on the three-point line while simultaneously having the discipline to recover and double entry passes to the block. When the Celtics players drove, the Pacers did a decent job preventing direct lanes to the basket. The C’s should expect the same and some for Game 3 especially with the crowd at their back.