Celtics-Pacers Overreactions: The C's bench woes are no more


The Boston Celtics are officially off the schneid.

After going winless on a three-game road trip and falling to ninth-place in the Eastern Conference, the C's bounced back in a much-needed 118-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

For the first time in a while, the Celtics competed with energy. Kemba Walker was at his best and despite Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown having tough nights offensively, the team was able to win. The bench certainly played a massive role in their ability to do that.

Highlights: Kemba leads Celtics to 118-112 victory over Pacers

Here are our thoughts on that and more in our three instant overreactions from the Celtics' win over the Pacers.

1. The Celtics have found the perfect bench rotation.

Perfect is always a relative term. Could the Celtics have a better bench? Definitely.

But with what they have, did they find the perfect combination? It sure feels like it.

Against the Pacers, the Celtics bench gave top-notch effort throughout the contest. Jeff Teague looked rejuvenated en route to a 14-point outing. He aggressively drove to the rim and tied for a the team-high in free throw attempts with eight. 

Payton Pritchard made some nice effort plays and hit some critical shots, especially in the first half, to help the C's keep pace with Indiana.

Most impressively of all, Robert Williams continued to play at a high level. Williams provided boundless energy and made tons of plays near the rim on both sides of the ball. He finished the game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and a steal and cemented his spot as the best center on the team.


Those three played a massive role in the win for the C's and they should continue to play big minutes off the bench. And once Marcus Smart is able to return, this four-man bench rotation won't look bad at all.

That said, this bench group still has to prove that they can continue to bring this type of energy each night as the season goes along. So, while this certainly was a great performance, it's a bit too early to definitively call this the perfect bench rotation.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

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2. Kemba Walker needs to keep sitting out back-to-backs.

Since returning from a knee injury that held him out of the first 11 games of the season, Walker hasn't been consistent. But one thing he has consistently done well has been playing after skipping the latter end of back-to-back games.

With the extra day of rest at his disposal, Walker has looked fresher on the court. And the numbers back it up. Incredibly, in four straight games after sitting out a back-to-back, Walker has recorded a season-high in points.

And in five games coming off a load-management day this season, Walker is averaging 24.6 points per game. In all other games combined, he is averaging 12.8 points per game.

Kemba's day off

Walker's PPG after skipping back-to-back
Walker's PPG in all other games

Needless to say, Walker's effort helped key the Celtics to victory against the Pacers while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown largely struggled. As long as he's playing this well while sitting back-to-back games, the C's have to continuing sitting him -- unless they find themselves in a must-win scenario.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

3. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's shooting struggles are cause for concern

Tatum and Brown have not shot the ball well in recent games. In fact, that may be an understatement.

Against the Pacers, Tatum and Brown 9-of-30 from the field and combined for just 24 points. They also struggled against the Hawks and combined, they are shooting just 28.8 percent from the field in those two games.

So, that begs the question, are the recent struggles of Tatum and Brown a concern? In a word, no. The Celtics shouldn't be too worried.

All players go through slumps. That includes budding stars like Tatum and Brown. What's more important is that the two played with better energy against the Pacers and were able to hit some clutch shots to keep Boston in a back-and-forth affair with Indiana.

If this continues longer-term, then the C's should be worried. But for now, it's just a couple of rocky games. No need to hit the panic button just yet.

Verdict: Overreaction