Pacers aim for revenge at home against Celtics

Rick Carlisle knows his Indiana Pacers didn’t play well enough to clinch a road victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

However, the Championship-winning coach knows it was about execution, not lack of heart, heading into Wednesday night’s rematch against Boston in Indianapolis.

“We’ll take a look at it all and see where we can improve for Wednesday, but I’m once again very proud of the way these guys fight and compete, break down and stay together,” said Carlisle. “And that has to be who we are.”

Indiana overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to force overtime, but ultimately failed in a 101-98 loss to Boston.

Torrey Craig scored 19 points off the bench, a high for the team, while Pacers star Domantas Sabonis posted a triple-double with 11 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists.

Sabonis went 3 of 12 to the field a game after dropping a career-high 42 points in a 125-113 win over Utah to break the Pacers’ six-game skid, a season-high.

“I feel like I missed a lot of rabbits today,” Sabonis said after the game. “You know, a lot of normal hits that I usually do. So that’s it really.”

Justin Anderson, Caris LeVert, Goga Bitadze and TJ Warren all missed the game for Indiana in the COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Malcolm Brogdon (right Achilles sore), TJ McConnell (right wrist) and Chris Duarte (personal reasons) were also dismissed.

Boston led their all-star duo’s performance to victory as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 50 points and 27 rebounds in the victory.

Brown had 26 points, a team-high, and 15 rebounds, a career-high, while Tatum added 24 points and 12 rebounds.

The Celtics limited the Pacers to 89 points in regulation before beating the visitors 12-9 in overtime. Boston shot 39.8% from the floor (35 of 88) while keeping Indiana 38.3% (36 of 94).

“We defended well overall – even keeping them at 98 in an overtime game is a pretty good job defensively,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “But (we have to) be much more precise and more precise offensively.”

The victory was Boston’s second in a row and fourth in six games after a nine-game losing streak in 13 games.

Amid rumors of a needed reshuffle, Tatum said he and Brown have a heart to heart to re-commit to changing the Celtics’ season.

“We see all the stuff on ‘we can’t play together’, and everyone in the media says one of us has to go,” Tatum said. “We just had a discussion about (how) we both want to be here; we both want to find out.”

Marcus Smart’s status for Wednesday is uncertain after the starting Celtics goalie left Monday’s game with a right thigh contusion in the third quarter and did not return. Smart finished with 11 points in almost 23 minutes.

Boston goaltender Payton Pritchard was sidelined for a fourth straight game Monday in COVID-19 protocol.

–Field level media

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