BOSTON — Though no one from the Pacers would admit it, and understandably so, the Boston Celtics took some wind out of Indiana’s sails Wednesday night.
Leading by as many as 12 early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers squandered their lead, allowing the Celtics to earn a 97-91 win at TD Garden in Game 2 of their first-round series. Now, the series shifts to Indiana for a pair of games with the Celtics leading 2-0.
But while the Celtics certainly must be riding high, it sounds like head coach Brad Stevens is going to let his group get too comfortable.
After Wednesday’s win, Stevens was asked if he thought the Celtics are peaking at the right time. Stevens didn’t entirely agree with that notion, and explained why Boston still has a lot of work to do.
“I mean, I don’t know (if we’re peaking),” Stevens said. “We don’t score in the last two minutes, that’s not probably the question, right? Play the next game one possession at a time. We’ve been up 2-0 heading to Washington two years ago, heading to Milwaukee last year, heading to Philly last year, heading to Cleveland. And in three of those games we got our doors blown off in the first six minutes of the game. So, every game is its own entity. You don’t think about how good you played or how lucky you were or anything else. You try to get it done, you move on to what’s next and play the next possession, and it’s hard. We’ve got to be ready for what’s coming in Game 3.”
Indeed, the Celtics have not always taken tremendous care of those 2-0 leads. The Celtics ultimately won that 2017 conference semifinal against the Wizards, but in seven games. They also needed seven games to beat the Bucks last year, and though they dispatched the 76ers in five, they fell to the Cavaliers in seven.
Sure, this Pacers team isn’t quite loaded with the star power those other teams had due to Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury. But they’re not completely void of talent and have shown in both games this series that they can keep pace with the Celtics.
Because of that, it’d be foolish for the Celtics to get ahead of themselves.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images