Celtics ride on Irving, Morris’ big games for Game 1 victory

Ruben Hill
April 15, 2019

In the third quarter of Sunday's postseason matchup between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers (a home game for Boston), Celtics and Pacers fans paid their respects to Hall of Famer Larry Bird, giving the former forward a standing ovation and serenading him with chants of "Larry" when he was shown on the Jumbotron.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Pacers coach Nate McMillan both said before the series that the more physical team would have the edge. "You saw what happened in the last few minutes when we did, so it's important to go out and do it every single time and making the most of it, loving the opportunity to go out there and value every possession".

The Celtics, to their credit, did that.

And, boy, was this game ugly. The Indiana Pacers are allowing 35.4 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43 rebounds per game.

- Sunday marked Kyrie Irving's first playoff game for the Celtics, and the 27-year-old certainly didn't disappoint.

- It was turnovers galore in Game 1, and neither team was immune.

After failing to make even one-third of their shots in the first half while falling behind 45-38, the fourth-seeded Celtics became a defensive force in the third quarter. "I thought he played really big and strong". "We just didn't make shots in that third quarter". They finished the quarter 2 for 19 from the field. We know each other pretty well. "But that third quarter really killed us".

After Pacers shooting guard Wesley Matthews drilled a 3-point shot to give IN a 14-6 lead, Stevens called a timeout and substituted Morris and forward Gordon Hayward into the game. The 29 points that IN scored IN the second half were its worst of the season. In truth, though, the Pacers' issues were as much their own doing as anything the Celtics did.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston. "Then we had open looks that we didn't knock down, and I thought we lost a little confidence". "The minute you let your foot off the gas or you don't play the right way, you're going to get beat". 10 of the team's turnovers came in the first half alone. Perhaps it was Indiana's defense, which - especially when Young was on the court - lived up to its reputation as one of the league's best units.

The Celtics lead the series 1-0, but have now defeated the Indiana Pacers four consecutive times. "There's no time to really hamper on the mistakes that happen in the first half". When asked about his team after the game, Kyrie Irving said that ability to move on to the next thing, and not dwell on the past, was his biggest takeaway. "We just didn't score enough", Indiana's Wesley Matthews said. We weren't sure, or we weren't doing the right things, but it's a series. Anyone can come in and make an impact, and it just doesn't have to be on the offensive end.

"We held them to 84 points". They have incredible defenders on their team. What's the next thing that we have to do to be more locked in?

IN made just one more basket in the quarter - a layup by Doug McDermott - and finished the period with just eight points, getting outscored 26-8. "Now you can really see where you can improve and where you can take advantage of weak spots".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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