The Boston Celtics broke out their brooms Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, completing the first round sweep of the Indiana Pacers with a 110-106 win. This is Boston’s first best-of-seven series sweep since defeating the New York Knicks in 2011.
In a back-and-forth affair, Boston relied on a balanced attack to finish off the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed. Gordon Hayward finished with 20 points to lead the Celtics in scoring, but he did not do it alone.
Seven Celtics finished in double figures in an impressive offensive effort. Marcus Morris (18 points), Jayson Tatum (18 points), Al Horford (14 points), Jaylen Brown (13 points), Kyrie Irving (14 points) and Terry Rozier (11 points) were all part of the scoring party.
Indiana was led by Bojan Bogdanovic with 22 points.
The Celtics now await their second round opponent, which will likely be the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks. They hold a 3-0 series advantage over the Detroit Pistons heading into Game 4 Monday.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics came out of the gates with a quick 8-0 run in the game’s first 95 seconds, putting the pressure on Indiana right away. The Pacers responded immediately, going on a 13-0 run of their own over a three-minute span.
Both sides cooled off after their respective hot starts, with Boston shooting 36.4 percent from the floor compared to Indiana’s 33.3 percent clip. The Pacers would ultimately lead 23-21 after one.
Tatum led all scorer’s with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting.
GAME OF RUNS
The Pacers were hurt by a scoring drought to begin the second quarter, a consistent issue for them throughout this series. Since they took a 13-8 lead midway through the first quarter, Indiana went 5-for-19 from the floor, allowing the Celtics to take control of the game early in the second frame with a 13-2 run.
Indiana, as they have all series, responded with a run of their own. They closed the quarter with a 10-2 stretch, taking a 49-47 lead into halftime.
Darren Collison led all scorers with 11 first-half points.
Neither team played particularly inspired basketball to open the second half, but the Pacers managed to extend their lead in the first four minutes thanks to multiple Celtics’ turnovers.
Halfway through the third quarter, Irving and Al Horford were a combined 4-for-21 from the floor. Despite this daunting line, Boston only trailed by four, which was a huge win in the midst of an out-of-flux stretch.
The Celtics closed the quarter on a 17-9 run over the final 6:05 to take a 73-72 heading into the fourth.
Bojan Bogdanovic had a game-high 16 points after three, while the Celtics had five players in double figures, but none with more than 12 points.
For the third game in a row, the fourth quarter began with some tight, back-and-forth action. Indiana was fighting for their season, and playing like it too.
Boston’s balanced effort was ultimately too much. With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Celtics had seven players between 10 and 13 points. They received contributions from everyone, which carried them down the stretch.
The Celtics ripped off a 15-3 run to take a 10-point lead late in this one, which ultimately sealed the deal.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The caption says it all.
The Celtics now await the completion of the first round, but they’ll likely face the No. 1 seed Bucks in round two.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images