Garden Report: Celtics ride Payton Pritchard and Robert Williams III’s energy

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Post game reaction after a game-changing bench effort alongside Jayson Tatum led to a 27-point Celtics turnaround between the third and fourth quarters, via CLNS Media.

The Celtics overcame a 17 point deficit late in the fourth quarter with a burst of energy from Payton Pritchard, Jeff Teague, Jayson Tatum, Javonte Green and Robert Williams III. They established a 10-point lead for the Celtics, that Jayson Tatum closed with 13-point final frame.

The comeback overshadowed a defensive meltdown midway through the game, where the Celtics allowed 19-for-23 Pacers shooting over a stretch before and after halftime. Pritchard’s ball-handling steadied the offense, while Williams and Green’s defense secured the perimeter and interior in ways Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis and Grant Williams couldn’t match the rest of the night.

Coverage and press conferences below are courtesy of CLNS Media.

Celtics vs Pacers Post Game Recap

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Payton Pritchard Leads Celtics Comeback vs Pacers

Payton Pritchard entered with Robert Williams and Javonte Green at the start of the fourth quarter and helped turn a 17 point deficit into a 10 point Celtics lead and eventual win over the Pacers to avoid falling to 1-3. Pritchard pushed the pace, scored 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting. His dribbling, urgency on the ball and grit has earned him Brad Stevens’ trust early as a backup point guard and ranked fifth among rookies in scoring as of the end of the game between Boston and Indiana, the most for any non-lottery player with 33 points in four games. The Garden Report asks, are you excited now?


Celtics Keep Winning the Minutes Robert Williams Plays

The Celtics received another energizing and this time winning effort from Robert Williams III, who again provided the best secondary minutes at center behind Tristan Thompson against the Pacers. Williams entered with Payton Pritchard, Jeff Teague, Jayson Tatum and Javonte Green for a stretch that turned a 17 point deficit into a 10 point lead and win over Indiana. Is this the new Rob Williams? The Garden Report discusses his 8-point, 5-rebound and 4-for-4 performance and why he’s only playing 11 minutes.


Brad Stevens Says Kemba Walker Not Close to Return

The Celtics expect to hear more about Kemba Walker’s injured knee and the stem cell program he’s on to recover from cartilage damage next week after New Year’s Day. Brad Stevens said he is progressing and January was the initial expected timeframe for the Celtics to set a timetable for his return, though Stevens notes it’s not soon. When will it be? The Garden Report debates when Kemba could return and whether or not this impending “update” is a push deeper into the future.


Press Conferences

Payton Pritchard:

Celtics Rookie Payton Pritchard (10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists) played his best game as a Celtic and was the sparkplug in Boston’s 116-111 win over the Indiana Pacers. Boston trailed Indiana by 17 late in the third quarter, before a unit with Pritchard, Robert Williams, Jeff Teague, Javonte Green and Jayson Tatum scorched to an 8-0 run to begin the fourth quarter. The Celtics outscored the Pacers by 3 with Pritchard on the floor and won the 4th quarter 33-17.


Jayson Tatum:

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 27 points in a 116-111 win over the Indiana Pacers. Tatum played the entire fourth quarter scoring 14 of Boston’s 33 points in the frame and getting to the free-throw line seven times in the period.


Jaylen Brown:

Jaylen Brown poured in 20 points to help the Celtics come back from 17 down to defeat the Indiana Pacers.


Brad Stevens:

The Celtics expect to hear more about Kemba Walker’s injured knee and the stem cell program he’s on to recover from cartilage damage next week after New Year’s Day. Brad Stevens said he is progressing and January was the initial expected timeframe for the Celtics to set a timetable for his return, though Stevens notes it’s not soon. When will it be? The Garden Report debates when Kemba could return and whether or not this impending “update” is a push deeper into the future.


Indiana Pacers

Nate Bjorkgren:

Nate Bjorkgren credited an incredible Celtics effort late for overcoming a 17 point Pacers lead and discussed where Indiana went wrong in the second half in his postgame press conference.


Myles Turner:

Myles Turner blocked three more shots against the Celtics in what became an eight block series for the Pacers center against the Boston team he nearly landed on in the offseason. Turner moved beyond the trade rumors of the offseason and has blocked 20 shots in four Indiana games, though he’s hoping to hone his three pointer (3-of-6 on Tuesday) while becoming a more versatile defender than a shot blocker to reach the NBA All Defense team.