Celtics

BSJ Game Report: Celtics 114, Pacers 112 – C’s clinch tiebreaker over Indy with huge win

(Kathyn Riley/Getty Images)

Everything you need to know about the Celtics beating the Pacers 114-112 with BSJ insight and analysis

Box Score

HEADLINES

Kyrie hits the game-winner in a thriller: The first of many looming battles between the Celtics and Pacers over the next few weeks started with a memorable finish on Friday night as Kyrie Irving capped off his game-high 30 points with a game-winning layup with 0.5 seconds remaining to help the hosts secure the 114-112 win. Irving led six different players in double figures for Boston in the back and forth affair, which featured six lead changes after the Celtics blew a 13-point lead. Boston had a hot offense for much of the night (51 percent shooting, 48 percent from 3), but they leaned on their defense late by holding the Pacers to just 21 points in the fourth quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic had a game-high 27 points for the visitors, who have now dropped 10 straight games on the road.

Celtics clinch tiebreaker with Indy: The win gives Boston a 2-1 edge in the season series and pulled the C's into a tie with the Pacers for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference. Even though there is one more game looming on Friday night in Indiana between the two squads, the Celtics secured the tiebreaker with Friday's win thanks to a guaranteed advantage in the second tiebreaker (conference record). Even though the two teams are tied right now in the standings, Boston essentially holds a half-game lead with six games to play. That edge could very well come in handy as both squads have tough schedules down the stretch.

Stevens leans heavily on his bigs: One game after making the switch to an Al Horford/Aron Baynes frontline in the starting five, the head coach turned the duo early and often on Friday night as they chalked up more minutes together than any game all season. Horford was terrific with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Aron Baynes played a season-high 33 minutes and posted his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 13 rebounds. For the first time all year, either Baynes or Horford was on the floor the entire game and that helped limit the Pacers from taking the game over with their physicality.

TURNING POINT