Going to Indiana for Game 3, the Celtics expected to get the Pacers’ best, and that’s exactly what they got.
Losing two games on the road is tough to come back from, but as long as you take care of business on your own floor, you’re right back in the series.
Game 3 was going to be different and the Celtics knew it. The combination of having home court advantage, being in desperation mode, and being fresh off a game they felt they should have won had all the makings for a Pacers blowout win, especially going up against an inconsistent Celtics squad. And how did the Celtics respond in a game no one would have blamed them for losing?
They had four players with at least fifteen points, five with at least ten, and Terry Rozier pitched in nine of his own. To highlight one person in particular, Jaylen Brown was an absolute beast and worthy of the player of the game honor. Reasonably so, the first line of evidence for anyone who has even heard about how this game went will be quick to mention is his near perfect shooting performance. After all, he posted these stats for the night:
- 8-9 from the field
- 4-5 from three
- 95.2% True-Shooting (33.1% higher than anyone else)
On top of it all, the only reason he wasn’t perfect was because of a deep three-point heave at the end of the shot-clock (thanks Kyrie).
However, I don’t want any of that to take away from how much of a menace he was on defense. The Pacers had him run through a gauntlet of screens every time down the floor and he was gliding over them. He had a defensive rating of 95.8 and held Bojan Bogdanovic to just 15 points in forty minutes played. For how close the game was, it felt like the Celtics were the better team and the final score showed it.
Winning these games is allowing Celtics players to fully buy into the system and build the team chemistry necessary to make a championship run and that alone should terrify the rest of the NBA.
Photo Credit: Chowder and Champions