For three quarters, it seemed like the Indiana Pacers were ready to even the playoff series with the Boston Celtics. Even with two minutes left, the Pacers had a great chance to knock off the Celtics. Unfortunately for the Pacers’ faithful, a 31-12 fourth quarter run decided Wednesday’s game. Now, the Celtics have a (2-0) lead after a 99-91 victory.
Think about that. The Celtics scored almost a third of their points in the final quarter. During Game 1, they outscored the Pacers, 26-8 in the third quarter. The Celtics happened to win that game 84-74. Meaning, neither team has reached the 100 point mark in the first two games of the series.
Kyrie Irving played sensational basketball in Game 2. He dropped 37 big points with 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum dropped 26 points, including a huge 3-pointer off of a cross court pass from Jaylen Brown. Interestingly enough, it was Brown’s only assist of the game.
Bojan Bogdanovic just made a 3-point shot to give the Pacers a 91-89 lead with 2:16 left in the game. However, their reclamation of the lead was not enough to hold off the Celtics. After a couple of empty possessions both ways, Tatum’s big shot gave the Celtics the lead for good. It also started a 10-0 run to finish off the Pacers at home.
With the way the Pacers played in the majority of the first two games, these losses seem to be devastating. Horrific quarters have squandered what should have been at least a road split. However, the Pacers were on the road and now they will be home for a pair of games. The tide won’t have to turn much for the Pacers to get in the winning column. Furthermore, they likely won’t get outscored by 18 points and 19 points in separate quarters.
Despite the lowing scoring affair, the Celtics shot fairly well. They finished at 47.6 percent, while holding the Pacers to 44.4 percent from the field. The Pacers made 13 of 34 3-pointers compared to the Celtics 11 of 28 3-pointers. Neither team got to the line that much. The Pacers were 6 of 10 from the free throw line, while the Celtics were 8 of 9. However, the Celtics out rebounded the Pacers 48-36.
Through three quarters, the Pacers dominated defensively. They amassed 11 steals. More importantly, the Pacers limited their turnovers in the first three quarters. Yet, they ended the game with 11 miscues. Most of those came during the critical fourth quarter moments.
Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 23 points, but he missed a highly contested reverse layup that may have been the difference in the game. If that shot goes in, we may be having a very different conversation about the first round matchup. Instead, the Pacers can only imagine what could have been.
Game 3 is set for Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. It’s a quick turnaround for both teams. The Pacers opened as a three point favorite.