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Game Rewind: Pacers 91, Celtics 99 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Through three quarters on Wednesday night, the Pacers put themselves in prime position to steal homecourt advantage away from the Celtics, taking an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter of Game 2 at TD Garden.

But a 7:54 scoreless drought in the final frame and shoddy late-game execution doomed Indiana in a 99-91 loss to Boston, who will take a 2-0 series lead into Game 3 on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"We've got to finish," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after Wednesday's loss. "We've got to do a better job of finishing games and situations like that. Execution on both ends of the floor, getting stops defensively, offensively being clear about what you need to do in that situation.

"I have to do a better job, we all have to do a better job."

Tyreke Evans' 3-pointer 40 seconds into the fourth quarter pushed the Pacers' lead to 12, but the offense went cold immediately afterwards.

Boston reeled off 16 unanswered points, drawing within one on Kyrie Irving's 3-pointer with 6:39 remaining and moving in front on another Irving triple 1:14 later.

"We missed a couple layups, we missed some open shots, we had some bad possessions during that time," McMillan said. "We've just got to be clear about what we are doing, get the shot we want, and you got to make shots when you have those opportunities."

Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer with 3:24 remaining finally snapped a nearly eight-minute scoreless drought and trimmed Indiana's deficit to 86-85.

After Irving hit one of two free throws, Bojan Bogdanovic buried a triple to put the Pacers back in front with 2:59 remaining. Gordon Hayward's jumper on the other end briefly gave the lead back to Boston, but Bogdanovic answered with another 3-pointer with 2:16 to play.

Neither team scored again until Jayson Tatum's three from the right corner gave the Celtics a one-point lead with 50 seconds left. After Matthews missed a 3-pointer on the other end, Tatum drove and dished to Hayward for a layup that made it a three-point game with 12.1 seconds to play.

Out of a timeout, the Pacers botched the ensuing inbounds as Matthews misread where Bogdanovic was cutting and threw the ball out of bounds. On the other end, Tatum's driving dunk with 8.8 seconds left sealed the win for the Celtics.

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Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals in the loss. Thaddeus Young added 15 points, six boards, three assists, and three steals.

On the other end, Irving was sensational. The All-Star guard led all scorers with 37 points, going 16-for-25 from the field and 6-for-10 from 3-point range while also tallying six rebounds and seven assists.

"When they put the ball in that guy's hands, he makes things happen," Young said. "He made some tough shots and I think that was the ending factor for us."

After a low-scoring Game 1 that saw each team score fewer points than it did in any regular-season game, both teams came out red-hot to start Game 2.

The Celtics hit their first five shots, including three 3-pointers to take an early 13-7 lead.

The Pacers were just as good, however. Indiana opened the game 8-for-10 from the field and reeled off 13 unanswered points — eight of them coming from Bogdanovic — after Boston's fast start.

The Blue & Gold extended their lead to as many as eight points in the opening frame. The Celtics fought back to tie the game on two occasions, but an acrobatic layup by rookie guard Aaron Holiday — a surprising addition to the rotation — gave Indiana a 33-29 advantage after one.

The visitors maintained a narrow lead for most of the second quarter, but the Celtics eventually tied the game at 46 on Tatum's baseline jumper with 1:39 left in the half and took a brief lead a minute later when a Bogdanovic turnover sprung a fastbreak dunk for Tatum.

Two free throws by Young tied the game on the other end, but Irving banked in a runner just before the buzzer for the final two of his 11 second-quarter points, giving Boston a 52-50 lead at the break.

The Pacers scored just eight points in a fateful third quarter in Game 1, but they were much better to start the second half on Wednesday.

Matthews hit a three on Indiana's opening possession of the second half, Young got a layup the next time down the court, and Turner added a trey on the next possession. In just 1:21, Indiana matched its output from the third quarter of Game 1.

They didn't let up from there, as the Blue & Gold reeled off 10 unanswered points to cap a 20-6 run to open the half, giving them a 12-point lead.

Despite a couple threes from Irving, the Pacers were able to keep the home team at bay for the remainder of the third quarter, taking a 79-68 lead into the fourth, but things quickly went awry from there.

Evans finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss, while Darren Collison joined him in double figures with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Tatum finished with 26 points for Boston, going 11-for-20 from the field and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Hayward added 13 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Game 3 on Friday night in Indianapolis now becomes essentially a must-win for the Pacers, as no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

"We have no choice," Collison said. "You don't want to put yourself in a situation where you're down by three games. We're going to do this one game at a time."

Friday's game will tip off at 8:30 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Kyrie Irving, Myles Turner

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Inside the Numbers

After going 6-for-27 from 3-point range in Game 1, the Pacers were much better from beyond the arc in Game 2. Indiana hit 13-of-34 3-point shots on Wednesday, with Bogdanovic going 4-for-8 and Evans 3-for-4.

The Pacers did not make a two-point field goal in the fourth quarter, the first time in franchise history that they have gone an entire quarter in a playoff game without making at least one two-point field goal. They finished the frame 4-for-8 from 3-point range but 0-for-9 from inside the arc.

Backup center Domantas Sabonis, who led Indiana with 30 double-doubles in the regular season, scored just one point and went 0-for-1 from the field in 22:02 on Wednesday. Sabonis did manage to collect five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

After leading Boston with 20 points in Game 1, Marcus Morris did not score for the Celtics in Game 2, going 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

Irving became the first Celtics player to score 30 or more points and make six or more 3-pointers in a playoff game since Paul Pierce on April 22, 2011 against the New York Knicks.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We're getting good looks and shots are not falling. They are picking up their defense in the fourth...we just got to put together a 48-minute game and we haven't been able to do that." -Young on Indiana's prolonged shooting slumps in each of the first two games

"Everybody's just got to stay confident, continue to be aggressive. We like the looks we're getting." -Collison

"We made some big-time plays on the defensive end, getting defensive rebounds, making them miss. Just staying aggressive and poised down the stretch." -Irving

"We knew Game 2 was all about adjustments. We knew they were going to come out (and) play a lot better and they did." -Tatum

"I thought our defense was really good. Bogdanovic hit a couple incredible shots, Wesley Matthews hit a tough shot fading away off of a kick-out...but I thought our defense in the last five minutes was excellent and then certainly in the last few possessions." -Celtics head coach Brad Stevens

Stat of the Night

The Celtics outscored Indiana 31-12 in the fourth quarter, turning an 11-point deficit into an eight-point win.

Noteworthy

  • Celtics starting forward Al Horford was listed as questionable on Wednesday due to a stomach illness, but he did play in Game 2, logging 37:18 and finishing with four points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
  • Holiday played 5:31 on Wednesday — all in the first half — and scored two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and wide receiver Julian Edelman both sat courtside for Game 2.

Up Next

The Pacers will return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host the Celtics for Game 3 on Friday, April 19 at 8:30 PM ET and again for Game 4 on Sunday, April 21 at 1:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »