This game started ominously like the Saturday game against Brooklyn when the Pacers trailed by 18 after the first quarter. Monday, the deficit was 16 and Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke, coaching the team here, thought, “Oh, bleep, and can we get out of this.”
They did with a 34-11 second quarter as center Willie Reed (12 points, five rebounds), Kevin Jones (seven points) and superb defense (Boston shot just 20 percent) provided the keys.
“We didn’t give up,” said Reed, who led the Pacers with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. “We had to turn it around some how and it was at the defensive end. Our defensive intensity picked up and that in turn helped our offense.”
From there, the Pacers were never threatened as they built a lead as large as 26 points in the third quarter. Jones finished with 17 points, veteran guard Donald Sloan had 14, Sadiel Rojas 11 off the bench and Frank Gaines had 10.
“Saturday, we started the game tentative,” said Burke. “Today, we got down because they made some shots ad we weren’t executing offensively. But our guys kept grinding, we got better defensively and we wore them down. As long as we play harder than the other team and get better every day, that’s our intent, but it’s good to get a victory to show for it. Our guys earned it today.”
The Pacers get a practice day Tuesday before playing Oklahoma City Wednesday at 3 p.m. (NBATV).