Can a team have a season defining win in just the fourth game of its season?
It’s probably way too early to put the Boston Celtics 116-111 come-from-behind victory over the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night into that category, but the win could unlock an urgency the C’s seem to be lacking early on.
By erasing a 17-point, second-half deficit against the previously undefeated Pacers, the Celtics avoided a sky is falling feeling after what seemed like an inevitable 1-3 start to a season for a team with NBA title aspirations.
But the Celtics persevered as their grit and determination rose to the surface during the comeback, qualities that will help a talented roster go to a level it wants to reach.
“We didn’t want to go out like that,” said Jaylen Brown, who has been the Celtics most consistent player at the start of this season and notched 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the win. “We’ve got a lot of guys in this locker room with a lot fight on the inside.”
Tristan Thompson set the tone with his most productive game thus far in a Celtics uniform as he posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, seven of which were of the offensive variety.
Rookie point guard Payton Pritchard continues to impress with his heady play while Jayson Tatum and Brown are the two catalysts ultimately in charge of steering the ship for the Celtics.
Despite the final outcome, the Celtics still seem to be doomed by the third quarter as they surrendered 37 points in the frame. Two nights prior, Boston allowed 39 third-quarter points to the Pacers.
Boston’s suspect defensive play early on isn’t drumming up a whole lot of confidence. The good news is it’s extremely early in a new campaign that is coming off of a truncated offseason.
This version of the Celtics is not the version they want to be come the spring and Brad Stevens understands that by not believing everything is fixed with just one meaningful, early-season win.
“We’re not where we ultimately want to be,” Stevens said. “Like, we’re just not…We’re different than we’ve been. To win this game after dropping one the other day is a good step, but it’s one step.”