BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics snapped their four-game losing streak Friday night thanks to an all-around effort in a 95-74 win over the Indiana Pacers.
But this group isn’t ready to throw a parade just yet. They know all too well this season that one win doesn’t mean much if they can’t follow it up night after night.
But at this point, it is a start for the now-15-17 Boston Celtics.
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” captain Paul Pierce said after the game. “When you come off a four-game losing streak and you get an Indiana team who’s been playing well, you look for anything to build off of. So this is a positive night, hopefully we can move forward. We’ve got some tough games coming up in front of us. Atlanta has been playing well, New York’s been playing well, so this could be the start of us building. If we can go on the road and get two good wins, then you can definitely see the progress.”
“This wasn’t an empty win. It was like a substance win,” head coach Doc Rivers said of the victory — Boston’s first since Christmas Day in Brooklyn. “It doesn’t mean anything, honestly, because you have to keep doing it. It’s a substance win in the sense that, I keep saying we needed a blueprint on how we should play. I don’t know if this wasn’t the best one, but then we have to do it again tomorrow, and then the next one. It’s the first step.”
The Celtics snapped the skid by getting back to their bread and butter: defense. The Pacers shot just 31.8% for the game, and didn’t score more than 20 points in a quarter until the games’ final frame — when the Celtics lead was hovering around 20. Indiana’s 75 points is a season-low allowed by Boston, and a welcome sight after three of their last four opponents hit the century mark.
“Since we’ve been in this funk, Doc’s been saying that throughout this tough ordeal no matter what we’re doing, offense can’t dictate defense. For the most part we did just that,” said Kevin Garnett. “Some nights it clicks, some nights it don’t. We just knew we needed a win. Tonight was the night to stop the bleeding. I felt like we went out and did it.”
“You could see from how we came in the locker room that we needed this win,” added Garnett. “And I thought we came out and actually played like it.”
On offense, it was a well-balanced attack from the C’s. Garnett led the way for Boston with 18 points and seven rebounds, despite being ejected with 8:24 to go in the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo added 18 points of his own to go with seven assists, with Brandon Bass — who got the start at power forward — pulled down eight rebounds. Off the bench, guard Courtney Lee chipped in with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
But now the Celtics have to do it again, and with little time to savior Friday night’s win. They face the Hawks in Atlanta on Saturday night, and have a date with the Atlantic-leading Knicks in New York on Monday.
At least for one night, the Celtics showed they can put it all together — especially on the defensive end. Now they have to do it on a consistent basis, but as Pierce said, it all has to start somewhere.