Boston eliminated from in-season tournament as Haliburton and Pacers top Celtics 119-112

The Boston Celtics have been eliminated from the NBA’s inagural in-season tournament after falling to the Indiana Pacers 119-112 in the quarterfinals Monday night. Tyrese Haliburton led the way for the dynamic Pacers, logging 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, grabbing his first career triple-double and punching Indiana’s ticket to Las Vegas in the process. Boston heads back to the Hub empty handed for now.

The last time the Celtics played the Pacers, they cruised to a 155-104 victory, but this time around Indiana’s lightning fast pace on both ends of the ball really challenged Boston. Not only did Indy’s speed stretch the Celtics on the defense end, but it seemed to force Boston into take rushed shots and making unforced errors. For the game, the visiting team logged 17 turnovers compared to just 6 for Indy. Combined with a lukewarm night shooting the ball from deep, and the Celtics just never found the right gear.

Boston is back in action Friday night. For now, here’s what you missed from a 119-112 Celtics defeat in Indianapolis.

Boston's offense

The Pacers are one of the fastest and most efficient teams scoring the ball in the NBA, and Indiana has found early success this season with this high-octane offensive approach. That trend continued Monday night, and rather than try and slow the Pacers down, the Celtics also played with a quick pace, with mixed results.

The Celtics indeed opted to play uptempo, leading to lots of success attacking the rim, scoring 56 points in the paint for the night. They also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. At times, they looked smooth keeping up with the Pacers.

Poor shooting disrupted any real offensive rhythm for Boston, however, while Indiana was much more successful scoring from distance.  All told, the Pacers connected on 47.5% of their shots from deep, while the Celtics went 29.3% from 3. Combined with too many turnovers, and it was a clunky night for Boston’s offense.

Boston's defense

Indiana’s speed gave Boston’s defense real challenges, too. Credit to the Pacers for hitting their shots, but often Celtics defenders often weren’t in position to contest in time.

This was especially evident during the third quarter. Indiana turned on the jets in a big way to open the second half, seemingly scoring at will. With Haliburton at the helm, the Pacers outscored the Celtics 37-23 in the period.

Being without Kristaps Porzingis was a challenge for the Celtics. His size down low often helps stabilize Boston’s defense. Likewise, his scoring may have given the guys in green a little more juice on the other side of the action. Porzingis is expected to return to action soon, however. Reserve big man Luke Kornet did have a nice outing for Boston, and finished with xx and xx in xx minutes of action.

Final thoughts

Indiana is one of the better teams in the East right now, so this game could be one to remember. The Pacers will look to make some noise in the postseason this spring, to say nothing of the in-season tournament.

Now that the Celtics are officially eliminated from said tournament, they will return home for a game Friday night at home. Boston will host the loser of tomorrow’s quarterfinal tilt between the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks in an ordinary regular season game.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire