Celtics-Pacers takeaways: Brogdon propels C’s to overtime victory originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It was only the second time Boston’s starting lineup of Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams took the floor together all season. Keeping that group on the court will be among the keys for the Celtics in the final stretch. But even at full strength, they had a difficult time putting the Pacers away on Thursday night.
Indiana caught fire from 3-point range to pull ahead in the third quarter after trailing by as many as 16 points. It stayed hot in the fourth to force overtime and it came down to the final seconds as the C’s held on for the 142-138 victory.
Tatum, fresh off his historic All-Star Game performance, finished with a team-high 31 points along with 12 rebounds and seven assists. Masked Jaylen Brown notched 30 points and 11 rebounds while Malcolm Brogdon tallied 24 points off the bench.
Pacers big man Myles Turner was a thorn in Boston’s side all night as he tied his career-high of 40 points and made a career-high eight 3s. Tyrese Haliburton chipped in 22 points and 14 assists.
Next up for the Celtics, who improve to 43-17 with the win, is a Saturday night showdown vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. First, here are our takeaways from Thursday’s win over the Pacers.
Malcolm Brogdon shines in return to Indiana
Brogdon picked up where he left off before the break. After posting 26 and 25-point performances in his previous two games, the former Pacers guard put on a show in his first game back at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
He started off hot with 13 first-half points and didn’t cool off, despite getting a couple of beers inadvertently poured on him after falling into the stands.
Brogdon went on to score 24 points in 37 minutes off the bench. Whenever Boston needed a clutch shot, he stepped up.
Brogdon currently leads the league in 3-point percentage at 46.5. The veteran is shooting 48.8 percent from the floor this season.
Celtics own the offensive glass
Boston’s dominance on the offensive boards was the difference. It finished with 20 offensive rebounds altogether, marking its second-highest total of the season. It tallied 25 in its previous meeting with Indiana on Dec. 21.
The discrepancy on the glass was summed up perfectly by Tatum’s dagger at the end of overtime. Tatum air-balled a 3-point attempt and Smart missed a putback attempt, but Tatum came in for the successful putback just before the shot-clock buzzer.
The Celtics ended up with 22 second-chance points to the Pacers’ 13.
Masked Jaylen Brown looks sharp
This wasn’t a perfect night from Brown. The 26-year-old missed a couple of big free throws and committed five fouls in the narrow victory. Overall though, it was an encouraging performance.
Brown didn’t miss a beat in his new mask, which is a great sign for his confidence moving forward. It doesn’t look like something that will prevent him from being aggressive as he was quite active throughout Thursday’s matchup.
Brown notched a double-double through the first three quarters with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He finished with 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting (3-5 3PT) and 11 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
Sam Hauser found his stride heading into the break and stayed hot on Thursday night. He played only 13 minutes, but he made the most out of them with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting (2-2 3PT) and was a plus-14.
While Hauser usually makes his presence felt with his shooting, it was his defense that made the biggest impact this time around. The Pacers made the mistake of hunting Hauser and he responded by tallying three blocks.
Hauser’s efficient performance is another reminder of the Celtics’ depth, which should be a major advantage down the stretch. Boston will hope to have its starters healthy from this point on, but it can rest assured Hauser and the rest of the supporting cast is ready to step up when called upon.