BOSTON --For the Boston Celtics, the climb up the Eastern Conference standings will have to include overcoming the Indiana Pacers.
Consider Wednesday’s game a step in the right direction as the Celtics took control from the outset and stomped Indiana, 135-108.
The win extended Boston’s winning streak to four in a row, all of which came in the friendly confines of the TD Garden.
Boston (25-15) hopes to keep the good times rolling as they hit the road for their next three games, the first of which will be tomorrow night in Miami.
But first things first:
Boston had to take care of an Indiana team that has had the best record (14-3) in the NBA since Dec. 4.
And the Celtics did just that by opening the game with an 18-8 run before eventually pulling ahead by as many as 27 points.
Indiana (27-14), playing its fourth game in six nights, looked like a team running on empty from the outset.
Making matters even more difficult for them was that they would be without Myles Turner due to a shoulder injury.
But the Celtics were missing big man Aron Baynes (left fourth metacarpal fracture) who won’t return until, at the earliest, sometime near the end of next week.
Not only did the win extend Boston’s winning streak but just as important, it moved them one win closer to their uphill climb towards the Eastern Conference mountaintop.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 27-point win over the Pacers.
Marcus Morris: The most consistent Celtic all season, it was yet another highly efficient night for Morris. He led the Celtics with 22 points on 6-for-8 shooting which included him making all three of his 3-pointers to go with shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. And he did it in just 23 minutes.
Domantas Sabonis: The Pacers looked like an energy-drained team most of the game; that is except for Domantas Sabonis who led the Pacers with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds and five assists.
Jayson Tatum: This was one of the strongest starts we’ve seen from Jayson Tatum like, ever. Boston opened with an 18-8 run, with Tatum scoring 11 points during the spurt. He would finish with 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting to go with four rebounds.
Celtics bench: Boston’s second unit was in equal opportunity annihilation mode on Wednesday. Led by Jaylen Brown’s 22 points, Boston’s bench outscored Indiana’s backups 73-47.
Victor Oladipo: This was a bad game by anyone’s definition for Victor Oladipo. He scored 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting which isn’t too shabby. But he had little to no impact on the game, something that should never happen to an all-star of his caliber. He grabbed three rebounds but didn’t have a single assist. And to top it off, he missed four of his six free throw attempts.
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