Celtics use perfect execution to score 10 points in 30 seconds and pull off a comeback the NBA hadn't seen this season

  • The Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers, 112-111, on Monday, becoming the first team this season to win a game after trailing by five points or more in the final 30 seconds.
  • The Celtics scored 10 points in 30 seconds, executing perfect late-game strategy by scoring, then fouling to stop the clock.
  • Terry Rozier sealed the game with a late steal and dunk to put the Celtics up by one with one second to play.


The Boston Celtics on Monday pulled off a comeback that the NBA hadn't seen this season.

The Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers, 112-111 with perfect late-game execution, becoming the first team this season, according to ESPN, to prevail after trailing by five with 30 seconds to go.

The Celtics actually blew a late fourth-quarter lead when the Pacers' Victor Oladipo got hot, scoring 10 points in less than 90 seconds to give the Pacers a 107-102 lead with 31 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Kyrie Irving hit a difficult three-pointer, but the Celtics fouled Pacers guard Lance Stephenson as the shot went in. Irving's basket cut the Pacers lead to two, and Stephenson went to the line to hit two free throws.


On the ensuing play, Celtics guard Marcus Smart went the distance of the floor to hit a floater, and the Celtics again fouled, sending Oladipo to the free throw line.

The Celtics called timeout trailing by four, advanced the ball, and drew up a play to get Irving another three-pointer to get within one with 10 seconds to play.


The Pacers called a timeout, and on their inbounds, messed up as badly as possible. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic threw an inbounds pass to guard Cory Joseph. The Celtics were supposed to foul Joseph, and they double-teamed him, but appeared to make very little contact. Trapped along the sideline, Joseph passed the ball back to Bogdanovic, who threw a lobbing pass that was picked off by the Celtics Terry Rozier. Rozier took the ball and slammed it with one second left to give the Celtics the lead and the win.

Watch the chaotic final nine seconds below:


The Celtics said they meant to foul Joseph along the sideline, but the referees never called it. That worked out for the better.

"Kyrie (Irving) and Marcus (Smart) had the first trap and Marcus was trying to yell to the referee, 'I'm fouling, I'm fouling!' but they didn't call it," Rozier said after the game. "Then they threw the ball to Bogdanovic and he made the pass and I was able to get my hand on it. As soon as I stole the ball I took a look at the clock and saw there were four seconds and I knew I had time."

See photos from the intense final seconds: 

12 PHOTOS
Chaotic end to Celtics-Pacers game on Dec. 18
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Chaotic end to Celtics-Pacers game on Dec. 18
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18th: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics steals the pass to make the winning points against the Indiana Pacers on December 18, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dec 18, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) steals the ball and dunks the ball with under two seconds to go in the 4th quarter against Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics dunks the winning basket during the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18th: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics makes the winning shot against the Indiana Pacers on December 18, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18th: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics makes the winning shot against the Indiana Pacers on December 18, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics dunks the winning basket during the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics dunks the winning basket during the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Marcus Smart #36 after the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with teammates after the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Marcus Smart #36 after the 112-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 18, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Dec 18, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) celebrates with teammates after stealing the ball to dunk the game winning basket during the final seconds of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) celebrates with teammates after stealing the ball to dunk the game winning basket during the final seconds of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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For the Pacers, the scene was uncomfortably familiar. Last week, with a chance to tie the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Pacers turned the ball over on an inbounds and Paul George stole it and iced the game at the free throw line.

At 26-7, the Celtics own the best record in the East and third-best record in the NBA. Games can be decided by the smallest of moments, and the Celtics' late-game execution is the type that can help them win many more games throughout the season.

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