By Tyler Sullivan Follow on Twitter @TylerSully
With the loss of Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) for the foreseeable future, the holes that he leaves behind while on the sidelines were highlighted in the Celtics 103-98 loss to the Pacers in Indiana on Tuesday night.
Marcus Smart started in place of Crowder and had the assignment of guarding star forward Paul George. Smart had his moments, but so did the Indiana star.
George finished with a game high 25 points to go with his 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. He also hit a dagger three point shot with 2:13 to go in the fourth quarter putting the Pacers up by 10.
Monta Ellis also had a strong night scoring 16 points. The guard was 2-5 from deep and was a burst of energy on the fast-break for Indiana.
Boston shot just 38.3% from the floor and like Doc Rivers says it’s a make or miss league. The Celtics can’t expect to win when shooting under 40%.
Isaiah Thomas struggled in the first half, but seemed to pick it up in the second finishing with a team high 21 points on 5-18 shooting.
Thomas, per-usual, had some highlight reel plays in the loss.
- With Crowder out, Brad Stevens talked about some of the younger players getting more minutes. Terry Rozier saw 12 minutes of action. The rookie finished his night with 2 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. Recent D-League call up Coty Clarke also saw a little bit of playing time (3 minutes) and in his time he nailed a 3 pointer.
- Curious that James Young saw none of that playing time.
- Jonas Jerebko stepped up in the wake of the Crowder injury scoring a season high 17 points off the bench.
- Boston won the rebounding battle 50-45, but when you shoot 38.3% from the floor while Indiana shoots 46.4% rebounding tends to prove futile.
- The Celtics are now tied with Miami for the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston has the tiebreaker, but with this Crowder injury, they’ll struggle to keep it even with the Heat. If the C’s fall out of the 3-seed they’d increase their chance to face the Cavaliers before the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston’s schedule gets harder before it gets easier. Tomorrow they’ll face Western Conference power house, the Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden.