The Celtics suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss at the hands of Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers. Boston had control of the game throughout, though lost the lead with 3.4 seconds remaining in the fourth after an Oladipo 3-pointer.
Despite the loss, the Celtics showed signs of promise. Marcus Morris lead the way with a season high 23-points in 33 minutes off the bench. Morris was one of the five Celtics to score in double figures, as well as one of seven to have at least six-rebounds. The team is playing unselfish basketball, though needs more time to gel.
Here are three takeaways from the Celtics third loss of the season.
Live by the three, die by the three
Boston continued their barrage from beyond the arc. After attempting 55 3-pointers against Milwaukee, they hoisted up another 46 in Indiana.
The 3-point shot has taken reign, and Brad Stevens and the Celtics have made a major impact. The NBA has seen an increase in 3-point attempts per game in consecutive seasons since 2011-12.
Since 2014-15, the Celtics have averaged more 3-point attempts than the league average. Withholding tonight’s performance, Boston ranks fourth in the NBA in 3-point attempts per game with 36.3. Though, they currently rank 21 in in three-point percentage at 34.8 percent, which is a far cry from their 2017 rank of sixth at 37.0 percent.
The Celtics will have better shooting nights, and worse. Their 41.3 percent mark was not the reason they lost tonight, though it will take more than that to beat the Indiana Pacers at the Fieldhouse.
Lack of free throw attempts
Due to the Celtics settling for the 3-point shot, they failed to draw many fouls in the paint. Boston ended the game with nine free throws compared to Indiana’s 25. It is fair to say the discrepancy in free throws allowed the Pacers to keep the game close.
Boston is 0-3 in game this season with 10 or less free-throw attempts. They will have to do a better job of drawing fouls otherwise they will continue to play close games.
Celtics in Foul Trouble
Boston committed 12 personal fouls in the first half and finished the game with 20. Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Aron Baynes each had three at half time. Specifically, Gordon Hayward played just 11 minutes in the first half due his foul trouble. His presence on defense was missed, as Indiana outscored Boston 27-17 in the second quarter.
Hayward will need to avoid foul trouble, as his impact on the defensive side of floor is integral. His defensive versatility is incredible, as Stevens has matched him up with guards and forwards alike. We’ve seen him matchup with face-up forwards like Blake Griffin and Thad Young, as well as crafty guards like Corey Joseph. If Hayward is in foul trouble, the Celtics will be in defensive trouble.
Their next test will come in Denver against the Nuggets on Monday, November 5 at 9:00 PM ET.