This was a story Boston Celtics fans had seen play out one too many times this season.
The plot goes something like this: Boston plays well for a half. Boston comes out shaky in the third, committing too many turnovers and missing too many shots. Boston fights valiantly, but comes up short when the final buzzer sounds.
We saw this scenario play out Wednesday night against the Spurs. We saw it play out again last night against the Pacers. So when the Celtics opened the 3rd quarter of tonight’s game down just 4, only to find themselves down 10 by the end of the quarter, every Celtics fan in the world knew what was going to come next.
A final quarter in which Boston outscored their hosts 30-13.
Wait – come again?
In a refreshing twist, the Celtics decided to rewrite the way the story plays out and turned a double-digit fourth quarter deficit into a seven point win, thanks in large part to a 7-0 run they used to finally grab the lead for good. The Celtics actually closed out the game on a 10-2 tear, which has to feel good for a team that enjoyed leads on the two best teams in the NBA, but wound up losing each of those contests.
Boston got solid contributions from its starting five, as every starter scored in double digits tonight, led by Brandon Bass’ 17 points. More importantly, the Cs clamped down on defense during the final twelve minutes, stifling the Hawks and keeping Jeff Teague in check after he started to come to life in the third.
With that, Boston ends its six-game losing streak . . . and sets us up for your eye-poppin’ fact of the night: the Boston Celtics are currently only two games out of first place in the Atlantic Division.
That’s damn near impossible to believe . . . but it’s true. The Celtics currently find themselves in an Atlantic Division so crappy, the team who winds up winning it may actually have a sub .500 record. Chew on that as you hit the pillow tonight, Celtics fans!!!