Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter made his NBA debut in familiar surroundings.
The 6-foot-5 guard who played his prep ball in Indianapolis, indeed felt at home on the Bankers Life Fieldhouse floor.
It was his first NBA regular season game, but you wouldn’t have known it by the composure he showed when his number was called.
Despite Hunter’s solid play which came about in part because of an injury that prevented Marcus Smart (left toe) from being able to play, it still wasn’t enough as the Pacers held on for a 100-98 win over Boston.
The Celtics (1-3) have now dropped three in a row and return home for a Friday night matchup against the Washington Wizards.
As for Hunter, he played 14 minutes and finished with two points. That does not include the baseline floater he made in the fourth quarter that was waived off after he was whistled for an offensive foul.
Had the shot counted, it would have given Boston an 84-83 lead.
Moments after Hunter’s offensive foul, Indiana’s George Hill made a pair of free throws that increased Indiana’s lead to 85-82.
Prior to the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about Hunter’s prospects for playing time this season.
Stevens indicated that Hunter’s opportunity to play would come sooner rather than later.
“He’s not far from not only getting a chance, but being an impactful guy,” Stevens told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game at Indiana.
Although Hunter had just two points, he did finish with a team-best plus/minus (plus-8).