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Morris, Tatum help Celtics rout weary Pacers 135-108

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BOSTON (AP) — There’s no secret to the Boston Celtics recent roll.

The Celtics continued to share the offensive load, and the results showed again in a 135-113 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.

“It’s not too often that we’re going to put up 135 points, but I feel like consistently over the last few games, we’ve done a great job of making shots,” said Kyrie Irving, who had 12 points in 24 minutes before getting to rest the entire fourth quarter.

“We’re making shots. We’re continuing to make each other better and make those plays that we weren’t making at the beginning of the season.”

The Celtics had 32 assists — their fifth straight game with 30 or more — and put together their highest scoring game this season. Boston (25-15) also ended a three-game skid against the Pacers, who entered the night third in the Eastern Conference having won seven of eight.

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“It just looked like we were gassed tonight,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “We knew they could come out fast and they did. They came out very aggressive, attacking us and just we weren’t able to establish anything defensively against this group.”

Marcus Morris had 22 points and eight rebounds, Jaylen Brown also scored 22 points and Jayson Tatum had 20 for the Celtics, who have won five of six.

Gordon Hayward had 14 points, Daniel Theis added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Terry Rozier had 12 points and five assists.

Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers (27-14), who had won seven of eight. Thaddeus Young had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Victor Oladipo scored 17 points.

The Pacers never led and fell to 5-2 in the second of back-to-back games this season. They wilted in the second half after beating Cleveland 123-115 the previous night.

“They just beat us in every category today,” Oladipo said. “Everything you can imagine, they beat us in.”

Boston led 68-53 at halftime after shooting 56.5 percent (26 for 46) in the first half.

Indiana used a 10-2 run early in the third and cut the margin to 79-67 on Sabonis’ hook shot with 5:31 left in the period, but Boston took off again and topped 100 points before the quarter was over.

Theis converted a three-point play to start the Celtics on a 12-3 run, and Boston closed out the period with another surge, getting back-to-back 3-pointers by Rozier for a 100-74 lead with 1:27 left.

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KEEP SHARING

The Celtics’ string of 30-plus assist games is their longest since a six-game run in March and April of 1987.

“We’re all understanding that we’re trying to play faster and the ball movement has been working for us,” said Al Horford, who led Boston with eight assists. “It keeps the defense on their toes, really makes the other team work. It’s kind of contagious.”

OUT-PACED

Boston’s point total was also the most allowed by Indiana this season — eight more points than Charlotte scored on the Pacers on Nov. 27.

“The fourth game of a five-game road trip and you’re playing Boston on a back-to-back,” McMillan said. “In a situation like that, you knew they were going to try to be aggressive, run us out of the building right from the start. And we just never could keep up with them.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: Tyreke Evans scored 15 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 11. … Bojan Bogdanovic was called for a technical foul with 8:43 left in the first quarter. … Young was called for another technical for saying something from the Pacers’ bench with two minutes left in the third quarter, and coach Nate McMillan got one with 16 seconds left in the period. … C Myles Turner was out with a sore right shoulder.

Celtics: Scored 68 in the first half, one point shy of their season-high for points in a half. … Topped their previous high of 133 points scored against Chicago on Dec. 6. … Tatum scored nine of Boston’s first 11 points and had 11 in the first quarter, going 5 for 6.

UP NEXT

Pacers: At New York on Friday night.

Celtics: Open up a three-game road trip Thursday night at Miami.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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