Game keys: Celtics 129, Pacers 124

Game keys: Celtics 129, Pacers 124

Key moment

Boston needed an unexpected boost to come from someone on the roster Tuesday night. Neemias Quetta was the man who delivered it.

Queta, one of the team’s two-way players who has served as a legitimate rotation player since mid-December, gave the Celtics everything they needed during the second half, especially early in the fourth quarter.

Boston outscored Indiana by 11 points over an eight-minute stretch spanning from the 4:11 mark in the third quarter until the 7:33 mark in the fourth quarter. During that period, the Portuguese forward registered four points, one rebound and one blocked shot. But more important than the stats is the fact that it was his level of activity on both ends of the pitch.

If it wasn’t finishing off two bowl hits from his teammates, it was tough shots at the other end. If the shots weren’t tough, they were crashing the glass and forcing Indiana to foul on the loose ball. His endless activity sparked the race Boston needed to get to the top.

The Celtics, who had a 20-point lead, trailed by one when Quetta connected at 4:11 of the third. The ground they were standing on was definitely unstable at that point.

Coming out at 7:33 of the fourth, Boston had a 10-point lead and felt good about its chances of winning.

It certainly wasn’t smooth sailing from there, as the Celtics allowed Indiana back into the game during the final minutes. They needed a stop to get the win, and they got it, but Boston wouldn’t have had the lead to give up in the first place if it weren’t for Queta.

Major player

The Celtics sure have fun when Kristaps Porzingis is in the lineup.

Porzingis returned to action Tuesday night after missing two games with a sprained left ankle, and all he did was record his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Those 12 boards tied his season-high, and the total included four boards taken on the offensive end of the court.

To complement his score in the box, Porzingis added two assists and a blocked shot during 31 minutes of play.

Box score nuggets

  • All five Boston players scored between 17 and 30 points, led by Jayson Tatum’s 30 points.
  • The Celtics shot 54 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from long range.
  • Indiana’s bench outrebounded Boston 33-16.
  • Neemias Queta posted the highest plus/minus rating of the game, at plus-15.
  • Tatum led the game in scoring and also tied for the team’s highest assist mark with seven.
  • Jaylen Brown had 25 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
  • Tyrese Haliburton led the game with 10 assists.
  • Former Celtics draft pick Aaron Nesmith led Indiana with 26 points.
  • Indiana outscored Boston 64-44 in the paint and 31-6 in second-chance points.
  • Jrue Holiday set the stats with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and a steal.
  • The Celtics made more 3-pointers (18) than Indiana attempted (15).
  • Aaron Nembhard led all reserves with 15 points.
  • Derrick White scored 24 points and five assists.

Night quotes

“It’s a back-to-back. They tried to wear us down, but we found a way to win.”

– Jaylen Brown on grabbing the win against the league’s top-paced offense

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