Following the Boston Celtics blowout victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs' first round, Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving dedicates Boston's victory to Marcus Smart, a player widely considered to be the heart and soul of the team.
In the postgame locker room following their Game 1 loss to the Celtics, the Pacers' message as a team was loud and clear: stay the course. The Pacers finished just 28-for-72 (37.8 percent) from the field, despite going an admirable 10-for-25 (35.7 percent) from three-point range.
Morris, who was recently bumped from the starting lineup in favor of center Aron Baynes, nearly singlehandedly kept the Celtics afloat by scoring 12 of their next 14 points. He also got to the free throw line a career playoff-high nine times, hitting seven.
IN led by as many as 11 in the first half before Boston opened the third quarter with a 22-3 run to take a 60-48 lead.More news: Toronto Maple Leafs bounce back big against the Boston Bruins
The 74 points allowed were three fewer than the Celtics gave up to Chicago in their regular-season low.
Irving scored 20 points on 6-of-17 shooting in the win. Al Horford added 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 10 points.
While Boston's task for at least the next week will be focusing on and trying to take advantage of Indiana's weak spots, what the Celtics need to be doing - at least to have the deep playoff run they believe they are capable of - is shoring up their own.
The Celtics and Pacers will return to action Wednesday in Boston in Game 2. The over is 4-1 in Celtics last 5 overall.More news: Ex-DNI chief: 'Stunning and scary' that Barr would raise spying allegation
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Pacers shot 13-for-20 from the field (and 3-for-7 from 3-point range) on uncontested shots in the first half.
The Boston Celtics won game one by double digits, and that was with them shooting a brutal 36.4 percent from the field. He just really shapes our team really well, and we all had to pick up for him tonight.
The Pacers have been impressive without Victor Oladipo, with Bojan Bogdanovic picking up a lot of the scoring and creation load and Myles Turner developing into a fringe Defensive Player of the Year candidate. But there was a gradual decrescendo, as the Celtics managed to tally just 6 points in the first six minutes of play. While it's just one game, the Boston Celtics seem to be playing with that pep in their step again, and they're one of the scariest teams in the league when playing to their full potential.
"We just didn't make enough shots", Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said of the third.More news: Klobuchar Releases Taxes, Urges Trump to Do Same
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