The Boston Celtics were down by 10 points entering the fourth quarter and trailed by double digits for much of the night against the Indiana Pacers, but that did not stop their defense from shutting the Pacers in the final quarter. The Pacers only muscled 13 points in the final 12 minutes while scoring 25 of their own to win 83-81.
This is the type of victory Celtics’ fans should be proud of about 75 percent through the season. Now is the time where the Celtics can make a run at home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. It may be a tough task to get the third seed, but the fourth seed is definitely up for grabs. It may seem like a long way until the playoffs, but only a month and a half remain until the Celtics will look to claw their way into the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013.
The best sign over the past several games has been the play of Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. Bradley scored 22 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night and Green scored the game-winning layup on Wednesday evening against the Pacers. These two young guns are ready to take the reins from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on both ends of the floor Bradley may be a guard, but his defensive pressure is one of the best in the NBA. Green can guard the likes of LeBron James with what seems like ease and he can score in multiple ways, including three-point shots and driving to the basket.
Garnett and Pierce are still the leaders on this squad, but it is time to face the fact that the younger players are ready to take on more of the scoring responsibility. The Greens of the world need to play 30 minutes more consistently down the stretch in order to make a long playoff run. If that happens, the Celtics could even see themselves in the NBA Finals. And that is a big IF.