Celtics

Celtics have long way to go despite comeback win over Indiana

Celtics

It didn't look promising for a while there, but the Boston Celtics were able to get revenge on the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, 116-111.

The C's third-quarter struggles nearly cost them once again, but this time they were able to storm back from a 17-point deficit to improve to 2-2 on the season. Jayson Tatum came up big down the stretch and finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Payton Pritchard was a pleasant surprise again as the rookie contributed 10 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Celtics-Pacers highlights: C's overcome 17-point deficit to win, 116-111

Here's what we're overreacting to after the C's win:

1. Jaylen Brown is the Celtics' best player right now.

"Jaylen Brown is emerging into a star right in front of our eyes."

Those were the words of Kendrick Perkins during Tuesday night's "Celtics Halftime Live," and he's spot-on. Brown has unquestionably been Boston's most impressive player through the first four games of the 2020-21 season. Yes, even more impressive than Tatum.

For most of Tuesday's game, Brown looked quicker and was more efficient than every other Celtics player on the floor. His free-throw shooting needs to improve (5-for-10 on the night) but otherwise he was stellar. He finished with 20 points and four steals.

Since being snubbed from the All-Star Game last year, the 24-year-old has made a statement. There will be no denying him from All-Star recognition if he keeps this up.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

2. Robert Williams has taken the next step.

Time Lord was a huge plus off the bench for the second straight game, tallying 8 points (4-for-4) and five rebounds. The 23-year-old had 12 and 5 in Sunday's loss.

 

Along with Pritchard, Williams has provided a much-needed spark for the Celtics' second unit. The big man is one of the few C's players that hasn't looked sloppy and lackadaisical. His energy has been encouraging to see so far this season.

It's far too early to expect this kind of effort night in and night out, but it'll be huge if Williams can contribute these kinds of performances on a regular basis.

Verdict: Overreaction

3. The C's are back on the right track.

OK, let's not get carried away just yet. This team still isn't anywhere close to where it needs to be if it's going to be a legit contender this season. Brad Stevens will be the first to admit it.

First of all, the third-quarter struggles need to stop. We talked about them after Sunday's loss to Indiana, and we have to bring them up again now. Whatever the Celtics are doing at halftime, they need to change it up. Boston was outscored 37-25 in the third quarter Tuesday.

Then there's the sloppiness on offense. Tatum had a case of the turnovers in the first half (four TOs on the night) and Pritchard -- as great as he's been off the bench -- turned it over thrice. The C's had 14 total turnovers, but fortunately for them, the Pacers were just as sloppy with 14 of their own.

This game was a step in the right direction, but there's absolutely a lot of work to be done before we feel comfortable with where this group is headed.

Verdict: Overreaction

Next up on the schedule for Boston is a matchup vs. the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at TD Garden. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.