The Celtics seemed a half step slow, possibly due to travel fatigue, and struggled to defend Indiana point guard T.J. Ford in the first half of Saturday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics went 3:56 of the opening quarter without a field goal, Indiana going on a 19-6 run extending into the second quarter. But the Celtics remained in contention on two three-point plays by Tony Allen and an Eddie House second-chance 3-pointer, cutting their deficit to 33-27 with 8:09 remaining in the half.
Rondo committed two fouls within seconds late in the first half, convincing Rivers not to replace him after being whistled for his third personal of the game. After T.J. Ford’s foul shot gave Indiana a 39-29 lead with 3:56 remaining, though, the Celtics rallied on two Eddie House foul shots, a lane move by Kevin Garnett, and open jumpers by Ray Allen and a Paul Pierce (a 3-pointer), cutting the deficit to 41-38. But Ford’s quickness sparked Indiana in the final minutes, a Marquis Daniels jumper just before the buzzer providing a 48-41 halftime lead.
The Celtics committed 13 turnovers in the first half. Ford scored 15 points, committed one foul; Celtic point guards House and Rondo committed six fouls.