Considering the state of both franchises in the NBA right now coming into Friday night’s matchup, I’m not sure that the outcome was ever really going to be in question between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics. As expected, Indy cruised to a 97-82 victory.
When most people look at this game, they’re going to highlight another big night for Paul George in which he scored 27 points. Most people are going to point out Lance Stephenson’s second triple-double of the season. However, the third quarter is the most striking thing that I saw in this contest.
We all know by now after watching them play this defensive-minded style over the past few seasons that Frank Vogel and the Pacers are a juggernaut on the defensive end of the floor. If they aren’t ever the top defensive team in the league, they seem to eternally be in the top-three. The crazy potential of that defense was seen in the third.
After trailing by two at halftime, the Pacers came out and delivered one of the most unreal defensive 12 minutes possible. While they scored 25 points of their own, they limited the Celtics, incredibly, to only eight points for the period.
There are many things to take into account about Indy’s defensive effort in the quarter. They allowed the Celtics to not only shoot just 23.1 percent from the floor, but to only get up 13 shot attempts in the entire quarter. They also blocked three of Boston’s shots in the 12-minute span, only allowed nine rebounds for the Celtics, and, most impressively, forced the Cs to commit 11 turnovers in just the one quarter.
Obviously that kind of defensive effort isn’t really sustainable over 48 minutes, but it really doesn’t have to be. When a team like the Pacers has the ability to play at that level defensively, even for just a quarter, it’s a game-changer. Obviously this is a lowly Celtics team and we already knew Indiana was good, but the third quarter of their contest still is an extremely positive sign to take away.