Center Myles Turner erupted for 40 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Pacers to overtake the East-leading Celtics in overtime.
Still, Indiana showed fight, and that’s really what this season is all about.
“I just love the fight our guys brought to the game,” coach Rick Carlisle said, via Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “They never went away. We weren’t perfect, rebounding continues to be a challenge, but the level of battle and the level of fight was tremendous. Closing out games like this against the top teams on the planet comes down to details.”
Celtics standout wing Jayson Tatum was left impressed.
“That’s a tough team to play against,” Tatum said. “They create a lot of problems. Defensively, they play with so much pace. Freedom. They present a lot of problems.”
- Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton leads the NBA in assists at 10.3 per game. He is also second in points/assists double-doubles at 25.
Guard/forward Jaylen Brown returned after missing four games with a facial fracture and scored 30 points.
Brown, of course, had to don a protective mask.
“It’s going to take some getting used to,” Brown said, via Souichi Terada of MassLive. “There’s just some things I got to adjust and adapt to. But I will. … I think it went fine. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to and adjusting, being able to adapt to it. So far, so good.”
Brown added that he expects to wear the mask for 4-to-6 weeks, likely right before or even into the playoffs.
“It gets a little uncomfortable at times, and sometimes you got to get your head around, make sure you see everything, somebody’s coming from behind or somebody’s in your side view,” he said, via Terada. “Just to be able to make those adjustments.”
- The Celtics (43-17) own the NBA’s best record overall, and at 19-10, the best road record.
Coach Dwane Casey wasn’t too terribly disappointed after a hard-fought loss to the Magic on Thursday, but he does want the Pistons to take better care of the ball.
“We came out with a lot of energy, which is difficult to do after the All-Star break,” Casey said, via The Associated Press. “The timing, the rhythm, we did all that, except for the turnovers. Twenty-one (turnovers) for 21 points in a one-point game. We can’t gift them 21 points.”