Celtics come from behind to beat Pacers; take 2-0 series lead

The Pacers had an absolutely disastrous final minute in their loss to the Celtics

The Pacers had an absolutely disastrous final minute in their loss to the Celtics

The Pacers unravelled in their first-round playoff loss to the Celtics on Wednesday, to the devestation of bettors who had them covering the spread in Game 2.

Coming out of a timeout and with a chance for IN to tie, the Pacers' Wesley Matthews threw an inbounds pass into the bench on the other side of the court with 12.1 seconds left.

The Pacers then turned over the ball with a chance to tie, and the Celtics pulled away with a 3-point play by Tatum and two late free throws by Hayward. Tatum converted the three-point play to make it 97-91.

The Pacers wisely began to force the ball out of Irving's hands late, which left it up to other Celtics to step up and close out the game.

"Everyone loves to kind of start making their predictions after a Game 1, kind of break it down", Irving said.

After scoring only eight points in the third quarter of Game 1, the Pacers scored only 12 points in the fourth of Game 2.

"It's always been one quarter that kills us in the second half", Thaddeus Young said. "We're getting good looks and shots are not falling".

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IN had four players in double figures, led by Bojan Bojanovic's 23 points on 4-of-8 3-point shooting, but the Pacers once again struggled to put the ball in the basket when it mattered most.

Kyrie Irving led the way with 37 points on the night, while Jayson Tatum added 26, with the duo combining to shoot 56.5 percent for their 63 points. In that time, only five previous games had gone under by 40 or more points; in the next playoff game, the over went 3-2.

As the second half got underway, all eyes were on the Pacers, who managed to score a playoff franchise-low of eight points in the third quarter of Game 1. IN would later go on a 13-0 run in the opening frame, taking a 33-29 lead into the second quarter. Boston rallied in the second half to win the opening game fo the series, 84-74, Sunday afternoon to draw first blood in the set.

Matthews ended a almost eight-minute IN drought with a 3-pointer with 3:26 to play to get the Pacers back within one and set up the tight finish. Eventually the run was broken by a Wesley Matthews 3-pointer, but never was Victor Oladipo's absence more noticeable than when the Pacers desperately needed a bucket down the stretch, and seemingly had nowhere to turn. Gordon Hayward responded with a jumper, before Bogdanovic hit another 3 over Horford that made it 91-89 Pacers with 2:16 remaining.

In addition to the battle of the boards, the Celtics scored 48 points in the paint to the Pacers' 36, a testament to the interior presence and rim protection of Horford and Baynes as well as Kyrie Irving, who had two blocks on the night as well. "They made more timely baskets than we did", Matthews said.

During the season, the Celtics used 23 different starting lineups, with its most popular lineup consisting of Tatum, Morris, Horford, Irving and (now injured guard) Marcus Smart. He didn't score his first points until the fourth, finishing with four points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the game. "It was a gritty win".

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