Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum star in convincing win: Gordon Hayward (21 points) scored 20-plus points for the third straight game while making all nine of his field goal attempts, helping the Celtics turn a tight opening 15 minutes against the Pacers into a drubbing with a 117-97 victory. Jayson Tatum (22 points) led six different Celtics in double figures as Boston changed the game by outscoring the Pacers by a 67-47 margin in the middle two quarters, which turned the fourth quarter into garbage time. The big win allowed Brad Stevens to rest Kyrie Irving and Al Horford for the final 15 minutes of the game and overcome the absence of JaylenBrown (sore back). Terry Rozier also left the game due to illness in the first half but Brad Wanamaker (nine points) filled in admirably in his place.
Taking control of No. 4 seed: The victory reduces the magic number for the C's to clinch the No. 4 seed down to one. Just one more win or Pacers loss in the final two games will seal the No. 4 seed. Two more wins and a couple of Sixers losses over the next week would also open the door for the No. 3 seed for the Green, even though that is a long shot with Philly’s remaining schedule (two games against the Bulls). Boston heads back to the Garden next to host a Magic team fighting for their playoff lives, but are well positioned to get some extra rest for their veterans on Tuesday night against the Wizards.