The Boston Celtics needed not one, but two big runs to put away the Pacers 99-91 on Wednesday night.
Trailing 82-70 early in the fourth quarter, Boston mounted a 16-0 run, holding the Pacers scoreless for almost eight minutes to seize control of Game 2 at home.
Or so they thought. Indiana fought back to re-take the lead – 91-89 on a Bojan Bogdanovic 3-pointer -- with 2:16 left.
The Pacers wouldn’t score again.
Instead, the Celtics pulled off their second spurt of the game, finishing with a 10-0 run to cap off the 99-91 win and grab a 2-0 series lead. Jayson Tatum, who finished with 26 points, did it all in the final minute, hitting the go-ahead triple with 50 seconds left, feeding Gordon Hayward for a bucket and finishing it off with a thunderous and-1 dunk to seal the win.
“That was a hell of a pass by (Jaylen Brown) and I was able to knock it down,” Tatum said of the go-ahead 3-pointer. “Gordon (Hayward) made a great cut. We were just all on the same page towards the end. We were making great plays, sharing the ball and getting stops.”
Kyrie Irving, who missed the playoffs last season with knee problems, was huge all night for Boston, finishing with 37 points and seven assists and was reflective afterward about being back playing big games at TD Garden.
''It's just been a long journey,'' said Irving, who was 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. ''From having those two knee surgeries and watching the team last year and finally getting a chance to lace them up for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs -- it's nothing like it.''
Stat of the Night
The Celtics are 37-1 when leading 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. The Pacers are 0-6 when trailing 2-0.
Big brother performance
The Bucks are making it look easy so far against the Pistons, and no one is doing it better than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
First, Giannis welcomed former teammate and "little brother" Thon Maker – who is 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – with a slam only a few players could pull off.
Then, with the Pistons hanging around in the fourth quarter, Giannis did it on the other end, sending Maker’s shot into the first row.
Minutes later, Giannis finished a breakaway against three Pistons by spinning in a righthanded layup, slithering around Andre Drummond for the flip shot and-1, igniting the crowd and proving why he’s a leading Kia MVP candidate.
In the end, Antetokounmpo finished the night with 26 points, 12 rebounds and put a bow on the Bucks’ 120-99 win that gives them a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Detroit.
Shimmy shimmy nah
James Harden burned the Utah Jazz plenty on Wednesday night, but it was a miss that had the internet buzzing.
After sending Ricky Rubio flying with a crossover, Harden was so open he had time to give a shoulder shimmy before settling in for the wide-open 3-pointer, which he then ... missed.
If that shot drops, we’re talking about one of the most iconic moves ever. Instead, it might end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool.
Outside of that miss, though, Harden and the Rockets were unstoppable in Game 2.
Harden finished with 32 points, going 6-for-13 from beyond the arc, hitting step-back bankshots while being fouled, crossover step-backs and pullup step-backs on the break. It was a masterful performance, and the Jazz seem to have no answers for Houston’s attack.
Even when Harden wasn’t knocking down 3s, he was getting teammates involved, finishing with 10 assists and 13 rebounds for the triple-double in the Rockets’ wire-to-wire 118-98 Game 2 win.
It was Harden's second 30-plus point triple-double in the playoffs, putting him in some elite company.
Players With Multiple 30-Point Playoff Triple-Doubles
One last act
The Dwyane Wade farewell stories never get old, and this might be the best one yet.
On the day Wade cleaned out his locker for the last time, the Heat legend spent several hours signing autographs and taking pictures with every single team employee.
Class act 'til the end.