Celtics start strong, cool down, find a way to rally back from brink of defeat


There are good starts to games, and then there was what we saw from the Boston Celtics who drained their first 10 shots of the night against Indiana on Monday night.

Boston led by as many as 19 points in the first quarter, but head coach Brad Stevens wasn’t all that thrilled about the position his team was in so early.

“It’s probably the most uncomfortable position a coach can be in,” Stevens said after their 112-111 win over Indiana. “It’s way up and you know you’re not going to make every shot.”


Indeed, Boston soon cooled off and found itself in a down-to-the-wire battle with Indiana that ended with the Celtics closing the game with a 10-4 run in the final 30 seconds, a spurt capped off by a Terry Rozier steal and subsequent dunk that proved to be the game-winner with 1.6 seconds to play.

“That was a great effort by them,” Stevens said. “I’ve been on both sides of this. It’s a hard one to swallow I’m sure.”

The challenge for the Celtics and most teams for that matter that jump out to a big lead quickly, is to maintain a level of aggression and execution.

“You don’t want to get to thinking the game is going to be free and easy,” Stevens said.

That was challenging, as was an Indiana team that seemingly woke up and played with much greater passion and intensity for the final three quarters of play.

“They really ratcheted up their physicality throughout the rest of the game and made it hard on us,” Stevens said.

Indeed, the Pacers had the Celtics on the brink of defeat unlike any team Boston has been able to rally back from, this season.

Boston became the first team this season to win after trailing by at least five points with 30 seconds or less to play.

“We just kept trying to extend the game. The way we were able to do that was Kyrie (Irving) hitting big shots, and Marcus (Smart) hit a huge shot down the lane as well,” said Al Horford who had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds along with nine assists. “We just played the game out and we were fortunate. I felt we had the game, kind of gave it back to them, and found a way to take it again.”

And it is that ability to stick with the game plan until the very end, that speaks volumes about the mindset of the Boston Celtics this season.

“When it comes down to that final buzzer,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “You don’t stop until it goes off.”


Contact Us