Originally posted on State Of The Celtics  |  Last updated 1/27/12

I'll admit that I fully expected a letdown from the Boston Celtics tonight. After all, they were coming off an exhausting, come-back-from-the-dead victory in Orlando, they were taking on an Indiana club that has been one of the surprises of the short season and had already beaten Boston twice this year and it was the tail-end of a back-to-back. In case you forgot, the Celtics are the worst team in the history of team sports when it comes to playing the second game of a back-to-back. I'm not sure if that's factual, but I have a feeling they're right up there.

The excuses were there and ready to be made. Instead, the Celtics decided to go out and win.

The defense that jump-started the Celtics towards their historic comeback on Thursday carried them throughout the game tonight, especially in the first half when the fatigue looked to be seriously hindering their offense. Spearheaded by Kevin Garnett, they held Indiana to 34 points at halftime and forced the Pacers into shooting 35 percent for the game, including 1-19 from three-point range.

Boston's defense suffocated Indiana long enough to allow Paul Pierce to work himself into a rhythm. The third quarter belonged to the Captain as he did everything (seriously, everything) for a team that was still missing Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. He got his hands dirty diving for loose balls, attacked the boards, found open teammates and scored 17 points in the quarter. It was a performance that made us forget about how unbelievably terrible he was just a couple of weeks ago.

And you know things are going well for you when Chris Wilcox gets positive remarks in a game summary. In all seriousness, Wilcox was one of the biggest reasons why the Celtics were up at the half. He finished the game with 14 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes and had the best game of his short Celtics career.

When you add all of this to the fact that the Celtics out-rebounded Indiana 45-42 and didn't get destroyed in the turnover department, it's the recipe for a hard-earned victory. The C's are officially on a roll and they've won three straight games against legitimate competition without their regular starting backcourt. Next comes a home-and-home with Cleveland starting on Sunday, two more very winnable games.

You can back away from the edge of the bridge now.
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