BOSTON, MA – A dream season continues for the Indiana Pacers (39-28).
Facing the Eastern Conference’s number two team in the Boston Celtics (46-21), Indy emerged victorious with a 99-97 win at TD Garden. Myles Turner’s bucket with 21 seconds remaining broke a tie and put the visitors ahead for good.
Sunday’s win gives the Pacers the sweep in games in Boston. The Celtics won both games in Indianapolis.
Granted, Boston was missing two stars in Al Horford (illness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion). Indiana surely doesn’t care, however, as they amazingly pass the Cleveland Cavaliers and move into third place in the East’s playoff standings.
The C’s held the edge for nearly all of Sunday’s first half.
The first quarter of this contest ended with Boston ahead by a point, 25-24.
Indiana hung around in period number two, but the Celtics eventually pulled away going into halftime. An 11-0 run, which evolved into a 16-2 spread, allowed the home team to grab a lead as large as 12.
Boston led at the break, 50-40.
It was a rough first half offensively for the Blue and Gold. A 16-point second frame let the Celtics build a comfortable advantage. Indy finished the half shooting just 38% from the field.
The Pacers came out of the intermission as a different team, though.
Indy outscored Boston 34-20 in the third quarter, all of the sudden leaving them with a 74-70 edge going into the fourth.
The Blue and Gold capitalized on that success, expanding their lead to nine in the final quarter. But the Celtics were not done.
Boston continued to pester the Pacers, trimming their deficit down within reason. Indy seemed to have answers though, keeping the C’s at arm’s length down the stretch. With 1:14 to go, Indiana led 95-90. Those last 74 seconds were certainly eventful.
Terry Rozier drilled a three and Jayson Tatum connected on two free throws, tying the ballgame at 95 with 36 ticks left. On the ensuing possession, Turner made a nice move and banked home what turned out to be the game-winning shot.
Boston failed to even the score again and Victor Oladipo hit two free throws to put the Blue and Gold up 99-95 with ten seconds on the clock.
Even then, the Celtics nearly stole the game.
Tatum put in a layup with less than two seconds to play. On the following inbounds play, Oladipo was charged with an offensive foul. That gave Boston the ball, under the basket, down just two.
Rozier got a look at a game-winning triple, but it fell short. Pacers survive.
Turner and Oladipo led the charge for Indy. 19 and 10 for Turner, including his clutch hoop. Oladipo finished up with a game best 27 points. He also knocked down some important shots in crunch time.
Following this win, the Pacers head to Philadelphia for another matchup with a fellow East playoff squad. Game day versus the 76ers is Tuesday, with tip off slated for 7:00 p.m.