Short-handed as the front office continued the in-season roster overhaul, the Boston Celtics rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit, but endured a 107-103 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Avery Bradley drilled an overtime-forcing 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds to play in regulation off a beautiful call coming out of a timeout, but Kelly Olynyk's 3-point attempt to tie the game late in overtime found iron as the Pacers hung on.
Boston was forced to juggle its lineup and rotations after the team (1) traded Brandan Wright to Phoenix for a future first-round draft pick and (2) worked to complete a trade that should soon deliver Jeff Green to Memphis.
Green was a late scratch from the starting lineup as Boston and Memphis worked to finalize a deal. The Celtics faced their biggest deficit of the game while down 13 with 8:34 to go in the fourth quarter, but rallied behind some sharpshooting from rookie Marcus Smart. Jared Sullinger drilled a 3-pointer to put Boston ahead with 1:27 to go, but Indiana surged back ahead and Boston needed Bradley's fourth-quarter heroics to force the extra session.
Bradley finished with a team-high 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while Evan Turner had 9 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists. Boston put six players in double figures for scoring, including Olynyk (13 points) and Brandon Bass (17 points) off the bench.
• Loose balls: The Celtics essentially ran with a nine-man rotation with Gerald Wallace and Green the healthy DNPs. Phil Pressey made a brief cameo. ... Green was active, but did not join the team on the bench amid the trade chatter. ... James Young -- a rookie whom fans have been clamoring to see -- was active after the Wright deal but went scoreless over 7:15 of floor time, missing his only shot. ... Boston overcame a sloppy and turnover-filled first quarter and gave the ball away only 11 times overall (for 12 points).
• What it means: The Celtics fall to 12-22; the Pacers improve to 15-23. Boston is in Toronto for the tail end of a back-to-back against the Atlantic Division rival Raptors on Saturday night. That's a tough turnaround for a team that will remain short-handed and coming off an OT game.