BOSTON — Last night was officially Fright Night, but the Boston Celtics continued to putting scares into every NBA team that may cross their path this season with a dominating performance on Wednesday night that, despite the team’s long and illustrious history, almost was unmatched in franchise annals.
The competitive nature of Boston’s 155-104 victory over the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden was over at the end of the first quarter, and after the Celtics’ blowout victory over the Washington Wizards two evenings prior, in a game where they led by as many as 36 points, the main question left to answer as the clock mercifully bled down toward zero was how good/bad would this get?
A 52-point lead right before the end was the result, and the final result couldn’t help but have some observers buzzing about how dominant this iteration of the Celtics could be this season, less than a few months from just missing a repeat appearance in the NBA Finals this past June.
While a case could be made that the Pacers could have put up more of a fight if All-Star point guard were able to play tonight and not miss out doe to an ankle injury, Boston’s first quarter was more than enough to convince all inside TD Garden that any yellow-clad Pacer, All-Stars included, would be lambs to the slaughter. The Celtics shot 16-of-21 from the field, an astounding 76 percent, in the game’s first 12 minutes as they took a 44-27 lead; the first-quarter explosion built on Monday’s 42-point outburst in the first against Washington, the first time the Celtics scored 40-plus points in the first stanza in back-to-back games since February 1982.
Somehow, the Celtics’ most impressive part of the evisceration they served was after it built a 21-point halftime lead, going on a 12-1 run in the first three minutes of the third quarter to open up their first 30-point lead at 87-55. Boston ended up doubling up the Pacers 34-17 in the frame, making it likely that none of the Celtics starters would see a second on the floor of the fourth.
They didn’t … and the Celtics’ reserves were 100 percent responsible for the highest-scoring quarter of the game, a 46-point masterpiece that was a complete 180 from the uninspiring play that Boston’s bench produced in mop-up duty on Monday.