The Boston Celtics only scored 84 points in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, but it still was enough for a victory because the C's defense was fantastic.
Boston held Indiana to just 74 points at TD Garden, including a 26-8 advantage in a pivotal third-quarter. The Celtics hadn't limited a team to so few points in a playoff game since the 2010 Eastern Conference finals triumph over the Orlando Magic.
Boston limited Indiana to 74 points, marking the lowest scoring output by an opposing playoff team since Orlando scored 71 points vs. the Celtics on May 22, 2010
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) April 14, 2019
How rare is it to hold a team under 75 points nowadays? Of the 2460 team box scores from the regular season, only 2 featured a scoring total of less than 75.
— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) April 14, 2019
The Pacers shot just 33.3 percent from the field (22.2 percent from 3-point range). The C's did a great job contesting shots without fouling and decisively won the rebounding battle 55-42.
The Celtics ranked eighth in the league during the regular season in opponents points per game at 108, so they're more than capable of giving a defensive performance like the one seen Sunday, even with Marcus Smart out of the lineup.
There's no question the Celtics need to play a much more effective game on offense and protect the ball a lot better (17 turnovers in Game 1) if they're going to make a deep playoff run, but the team's defense in the series opener certainly was encouraging. It was a good example of the effort required to win the gritty games of the postseason.
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