Celtics break through in OT against Pacers – Boston Herald

Their meager track record in close matches considered this season, the Celtics had no right to expect anything better on Monday night.

As evidenced by their 19 turnovers and 39 percent shooting – the classic elements of a tractor pull – the Celtics took on a lot of mud before pulling a 101-98 win over Indiana in overtime at TD Garden. It was their second win in a row and their third of the season in overtime.

The game was also, in a dirty way, refreshing for a team that has blown more leads down the stretch than they bother to remember. The Celtics led by 11 points on the first basket in the fourth quarter – a Josh Richardson 3-pointer – before losing the lead three times in the last three to five of the regulation. If not for Jayson Tatum’s baseline jumps from an inbound game with 1.8 seconds left, the taste would really have been dirty.

“Have been in enough of these situations to show some growth and improvement there,” Ime Udoka said of what these tight results have taught his team.

“Overtime felt good with the choice of shots we got and the defensive pressure. We take it,” said the Celtics coach. even though we had a double-digit lead and gave it away pretty quickly. It was good to get back in and get the stops we wanted and really lock in overtime. Good to see that. ”

Jaylen Brown, who has averaged 28.8 points over his last five games, going back to a 50-point performance against Orlando on Jan. 2, completed the night with a 26-point performance that included 3-to-6 3-point shooting. Tatum had 24.

Although Indiana played with a sticky backfield – minus the services of the injured Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte and Caris LeVert – the Celtics fought mightily not only against ball pressure, but also unforced negligence.

They suffered a big loss when Marcus Smart left the match for good in the third quarter with a contusion on his right thigh. After trying to return in the fourth quarter, Smart went back to the locker room as his thighs tightened up.

But to the great delight of Udoka, his team found the right overtime space.

Brown opened the scoring in overtime and came back with a drive after a Justin Holiday scoring. Robert Williams blocked Oshae Brissett and Grant Williams put a 3-pointer to the corner with two minutes left for a Celtics lead of 96-91.

Torrey Craig responded from 15 feet, and when Grant Williams missed, Robert Williams grabbed the offensive board and set up a Tatum jumper. Domantas Sabonis responded, the Celtics came up empty, and when Craig rhymed a 3-point attempt, the Pacers were forced to fail Brown.

Brown missed his first free throw with 4.3 seconds left and hit the second for a 99-95 lead.

Josh Richardson made an incredible mistake and defiled Holiday while attempting a 3-pointer. Holiday hit all three, including the last, while trying to knock the ball away from the backboard so someone could grab the rebound.

The Celtics took possession with three seconds left and a one-point lead in the balance. Tatum failed with 2.5 seconds left and hit twice. Robert Williams intercepted the home run inbound pass to put it to rest.

The Celtics center’s defensive play – the core of his 14-point, 12-rebounds, three-block evening – made all the difference down the stretch.

“Overall, with Rob, you see consistency becoming more standard from game to game, and we love that part,” Udoka said. “We can play with him the big one in pick and roll or off-ball, and we’re starting to mix it up more. As a weak side shot blocker, he really thrives in that role, with the smaller one on the ball. So he is more consistent and it is great to see. ”

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