BOSTON - It was pretty clear from the start that the Boston Celtics were in for a rough night. Right from the start, the Celtics appeared flat and weren't able to recover in a gruesome 87-74 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
Boston was held to 25 first-half points, tying a franchise low for points in a half (they also scored 25 points in the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995). The Celtics finished with 39.4 percent shooting (26-of-66) in the game.
Meanwhile, Indiana didn't have a particularly memorable offensive effort. The Pacers scored 33 points themselves in the opening half but finished the game having made 32-of-79 field goals (40.5 percent) and 8-of-14 threes (57.1 percent).
In the end, it came down to effort, which the Pacers simply had more of in the win.
"I think it was their effort," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "I thought their intensity - I just thought they were into us. They were in our airspace, you know? We always talk about owning the airspace of ours, and then owning the opponents' airspace. That's who we are. And they were us, for the entire game."
The Celtics received little production from the bench, which totaled 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Brandon Bass, who was averaging 14.0 points coming into the game, finished with five points while Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley both scored four points. Marquis Daniels, Greg Stiemsma, JaJuan Johnson and Sasha Pavlovic were all scoreless.
"There's going to be nights like that," Rivers said. "Listen, there's going to be nights - I would say this: Brandon [Bass] was 2-for-7 and he missed five great shots. So, that's going to happen. We do have to get more out of our bench. And I told Keyon [Dooling] at halftime - because you could see, he actually played pretty well tonight - but I told him that's on me. I've got to find something that works with them that we can give them. The're an energy group; they're not a scoring group. But we've got to come up with something. And so that's not on them."
It wasn't entirely the lack of bench production that killed Boston, though. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were relatively dormant all night long. Ray Allen was the only bright spot in the starting lineup, scoring a game-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting. As for Pierce, he finished the game 3-of-17 from the field with 10 points in defeat.
"He was human. You know?" Rivers said about Pierce. "I thought he tried to so too much off the bounce, especially early. And then I thought he get frustrated a little bit. That's going to happen. But that's where somebody else we needed to pick up, and nobody could. Without Ray [Allen] shooting today, we would have shot 20 percent."
Boston is off until Wednesday, when it hosts the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics will not hold practices on Saturday or Sunday and will return to the practice floor at noon on Monday.