Pacers unravel in crunch time as Celtics grab firm hold on series with 2-0 lead

BOSTON — Three days later, all isn't back to normal for the Indiana Pacers. They played better — and avoided a dreadful third quarter to lead by 12 in the fourth — but the result in Game 2 Wednesday was the same.

They suffered an eight-minute drought in the fourth quarter, scoring only 12, and lost 99-91 to fall down 2-0 in their first-round series. Game 3 is Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Game 4 is Sunday.

Despite their struggles in crunch time, the Pacers reclaimed the lead on Bojan Bogdanovic's 3 at the two-minute mark but blew it again as Jayson Tatum (26 points) and Gordon Hayward (13 points) converted open looks.

Kyrie Irving (37 points, seven assists) got Boston in position to finish. 

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, driving past Pacers guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44), scored 26 points to help Boston win Game 2. (Photo: Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports)

Bogdanovic (23 points) led Indiana as he made 4 of 8 shots from 3, but he had a pair of crucial misses on drives in the final minute in isolations.

With a chance to tie with 12.3 seconds left at 94-91, Wesley Matthews (six points) threw an errant inbound pass to Bogdanovic that went out of bounds to end their chances at getting a split in Boston.

The Pacers lost both regular-season meetings on the road, allowing 135 and 114 points. They held the Celtics to 84 points in Game 1 but only could score 74 themselves. It was a embarrassment that drove the Pacers to perform better but their their stout defense came apart at the end of Game 2. 

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Coach Nate McMillan’s group wasn't uptight with two days to prepare. They were beyond loose. They were jovial.

They weren’t worried about their ability to win in this No. 4 vs. 5 matchup as everyone else from the outside looking in.

Tyreke Evans (13 points, even rebounds) drained a 3 just 40 seconds into the fourth quarter to silence the home crowd.

Everything went downhill from there. 

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