Behind an 11-0 game-ending run, the Boston Celtics came back to stun the Indiana Pacers, stealing an 83-81 victory after trailing by double digits to start the fourth quarter.
Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 boards, but no plays were bigger than his two assists, which led to the game-tying and game-winning baskets. His backdoor pass to a cutting Avery Bradley knotted the contest with less than a minute to play, and his bullet to a cutting Jeff Green sealed the deal with half-a-second left.
That final play, which involved more than one decoy, a sneaky screen by Paul Pierce and a great find by KG stood out in stark contrast to Indiana's last-second attempt to tie the game. George Hill lofted a lazy lob to Paul George, who Pierce easily bodied out of the way. George had no chance.
In all, Doc Rivers soundly outcoached Frank Vogel down the stretch, and the Pacers failed to generate good looks on offense for most of the second half. In fact, after a solid first quarter predicated on Roy HIbbert getting touches in the paint, Indiana scored just 22, 19 and 13 points in the remaining three periods.
For the Celtics, the win was huge, as it came against a tough road opponent who they might actually see in a playoff series.
Indiana, on the other hand, has got to be seriously disheartened by the loss. Its offense totally fell apart late, and the team's only answer seemed to be hoisting up threes. A final three-point accuracy rate of 22 percent ought to indicate how good of an idea that was.
The loss was just the seventh at home all season for the Pacers, who are going to have to do some image reconstruction if they want people to believe they're still the best threat to the Heat in the East.
Celtics 83, Pacers 81—Final Score