NBA: Celtics rally past Pacers for 2-0 series lead


Posted at Apr 18 2019 10:25 AM | Updated as of Apr 18 2019 06:25 PM

Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic drives to the basket past Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Boston. The Celtics won 99-91.Charles Krupa, AP Photo

Jayson Tatum buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 50.8 seconds remaining Wednesday night, allowing the host Boston Celtics to overcome a late Indiana Pacers flurry and pull out a 99-91 victory in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

With the fourth-seeded Celtics having successfully held serve on their home court to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven set, the fifth-seeded Pacers will host Games 3 and 4 on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

Indiana blew a 12-point, fourth-quarter lead. However, the Pacers appeared primed to even the series when Wesley Matthews and Bojan Bogdanovic combined for three 3-pointers in a 70-second spurt, allowing Indiana to retake a 91-89 advantage with 2:16 to go.

But the Pacers didn't score again, and the Celtics finally did when Tatum drilled his third 3-pointer of the game for a one-point lead in the final minute.

After Matthews couldn't connect on a 3-point try at the Indiana end, Gordon Hayward dropped in a layup with 12.1 seconds remaining to increase the Boston lead to 94-91.

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.

The Celtics scored the game's final 10 points.

Kyrie Irving, who sparked an earlier fourth-quarter comeback, finished with a game-high 37 points for the Celtics, who won the opener 84-74 on Sunday.

Tatum totaled 26 while Hayward added 13.

Boston forward Al Horford, who had been iffy for the game after missing the morning shootaround due to an illness, was able to put in 37 minutes, contributing a game-high 10 rebounds and four points to the win.

Bogdanovic used four 3-pointers as the base for his team-high 23 points for the Pacers, who outscored the Celtics 39-33 from beyond the arc.

Thaddeus Young chipped in with 15 points, while Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans had 13 apiece for Indiana.

The Pacers led for most of the first three quarters, going up by as many as eight in the first half and by 12, 77-65, on a Myles Turner shot with 1:04 remaining in the third period.

Evans made it a 12-point game again with a 3-pointer 40 seconds into the final period before Boston tightened the screws defensively and scored the game's next 16 points to go up 86-82.

Irving hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second of which put the Celtics ahead, and then dropped in a 2-pointer to increase the lead to four.

Matthews ended a nearly eight-minute Indiana drought with a 3-pointer with 3:26 to play to get the Pacers back within one and set up the tight finish.