From the NBA Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com
Kyrie Irving scored 37 points as the Celtics came back from down 11 entering the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 on Wednesday. Jayson Tatum also scored 25, including nine in the fourth amid their comeback and multiple clutch plays in the final minute. The Celtics took a 2-0 lead in the series with the big win.
Here are six takeaways and observations from what led to the Celtics turning things around late and emerging with a 2-0 lead.
— C’s turn it on in the fourth. A 14-0 run stormed the Celtics back into the lead after hitting the fourth quarter down 79-68. Kyrie Irving’s three-pointer put the C’s up 84-82 and forced a Pacers timeout at the time. The game went back and forth from there, until the Celtics pulled away in the final minute thanks to their young stud.
— Tatum hits a clutch three, then makes the unselfish pass to seal the win. Tatum was sensational in the fourth quarter with nine points. He hit a massive three-pointer with 50 seconds left in regulation to put the Celtics up one, then on the next possession he made the extra pass to an open Gordon Hayward under the basket, who laid it in easily. Tatum added a late dunk to finish with 25 of his own.
— Kyrie leads the way in first half. Kyrie Irving kept the Celtics afloat for much of the first half, then led them to take a 52-50 halftime lead with 18 first-half points. Jayson Tatum wasn’t far behind with 12 of his own. Considering the surprising firepower Indiana showed in the first half, the Celtics are fortunate that one of the best versions of Kyrie showed up.
— Pacers with another hot start on offense. After going down 13-7 to the Celtics, the Pacers ripped off a 13-0 run to go up 20-13, including eight points off Boston turnovers during the run. After going down 27-19, the Celtics battled back with threes by Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward and a layup by Terry Rozier to tie it back up at 27. But Indiana bounced back and took a 33-29 lead into the second quarter. It continued a disturbing theme of slow starts by the Celtics on defense.
— Turnovers still an issue. At times they just lost the handle, but the Celtics committed 14 turnovers on Wednesday mainly due to sloppy passing and inconsistent decision-making in the first three quarters. The Pacers straight-up hawked the ball at times. They eventually cleaned it up while coming back in the fourth. But the C’s won’t be able to live like this forever in the playoffs.
— Celtics go cold in third. 4:10 without scoring at one point in the third quarter, during which the Pacers built to a 70-58 lead. Irving scored another 10 points to keep the game from really getting out of hand. But the Pacers’ 11-point lead after three quarters made the Celtics’ comeback necessary.
Game 3 takes place on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
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