For the second time this season, the Indiana Pacers have beat back-to-back opponents by 20-plus points, showing the dominant play that got them off to a 15-1 start before December. The Pacers dismantled the Houston Rockets by 33 on Friday and clobbered the Boston Celtics by 27 tonight, 106-79.
I had made some predictions early today in my Pacers-Celtics preview article and I went 3-for-4. Paul George had a game-high 24 points and Danny Granger hit four three-pointers, but it was Lance Stephenson who once again stole the show against Boston by earning his third career, and season, triple-double. Stephenson finished with 12 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
It was a slow start for the Pacers as they only led by three at the end of the first. In the second quarter, normally their worst quarter, they blew up for 32 points and a 52-37 lead at half. The second quarter was also when it became apparent Lance Stephenson was on his way to another triple-double as he went into the locker room with five points, five rebounds and four assists.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens received a standing ovation at the beginning of the game — he led Butler University to back-to-back championship games — and that ended up being the highlight of their entire game.
It was a complete game again for the Indiana Pacers. Their starters played strong the entire game and their bench, led by Granger and Luis Scola, combined for 40 points, five less than what the Celtics starters combined for.
The Pacers are playing out of their minds right now, but they will get a big test tomorrow night as they head to Brooklyn. While the Nets are a complete mess, and just lost Brook Lopez for the rest of the season, the Pacers have a tendency to lose on the back end of a back-to-back. If the bench continues to put up big numbers, there’s no reason the Pacers should lose any time soon.