BOSTON, Ma. – Facing the top team in the Eastern Conference, a team with 40 wins, the odds were against the Indiana Pacers (31-25) at TD Garden on Friday night.
But Victor Oladipo was spectacular, scoring 35 points and pulling down ten rebounds, propelling Indy to an impressive 97-91 win over the Boston Celtics (40-17).
As impressive of a win it was, the Pacers may have gotten off to an even more impressive start.
Indiana never trailed in the first half and roared out to a 28-12 lead in the first quarter. It was 30-16 after one and the Blue and Gold kept rolling in quarter number two.
A quick 10-2 set the tone for Indy, who led by as many as 26 points in the frame. At the half, the Pacers led 59-38.
That 21-point advantage would evaporate rather quickly, however, as the Celtics owned the third period. Boston relied on runs of 10-2 and 20-6 in the quarter to trim Indy’s lead all the way down to 76-72 after three. A Terry Rozier three-point buzzer beater gave the C’s momentum heading into Friday’s final frame.
It was a sluggish fight to start the fourth, with each side struggling to put the ball in the basket. The Celtics eventually took their first lead at 83-82 with 4:45 to play, completing a major comeback.
Boston’s time in front didn’t last long, however. Each side traded hoops for a short period of time before Indiana went back ahead for good.
The Blue and Gold scored seven straight points to grab the lead and never relinquished it. Boston hung around up until the closing moments, but the Pacers prevailed for a very good victory.
Oladipo paved the way with a marvelous stat line, but he was not alone. Three other Pacers scored in double figures, led by Myles Turner’s 19.
Indy faces the New York Knicks next, with a 5:00 p.m. matchup set for Sunday.