Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and the Boston Celtics rallied late in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers by 99-91 on Wednesday night. The win gave Boston a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven, first-round series
Coming out of a timeout and with a chance to tie, the Pacers’ Wesley Matthews threw an inbounds pass into the bench on the other side of the court with 12.1 seconds left. On the ensuing play, the Celtics’ Al Horford passed to Jayson Tatum, who was fouled on a two-handed dunk. He completed the three-point play to make it 97-91 with 8.8 seconds left.
The Pacers turned it over again and the Celtics were able to close out the game at the free throw line.
Tatum scored 26 points, including a thunderous dunk down the stretch to help punctuate a 10-0 run by Boston over the final five minutes.
[Read: Jayson Tatum has a daily reminder of the booming dunk he delivered on LeBron James last year.]
Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points. Thaddeus Young added 15 points.
Indiana led by 79-68 entering the fourth. Horford opened the final period scoring on a hook shot in the lane and Tyreke Evans responded with a 3-pointer on Indiana’s first possession.
But then Boston caught fire, using a 16-0 run, including eight straight by Irving, to take an 86-82 lead with 5:04 to play. Indiana missed 10 straight shots during the run, finally breaking a nearly eight-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer by Matthews in front of the Celtics’ bench.
Horford had been a game-time decision with an illness, but was able to remain in the Celtics’ starting lineup. He was noticeably a step slower at the outset and didn’t take his first shot until late in the second quarter. He didn’t score his first points until the fourth, finishing with four points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the game.
Game 3 is Friday in Indiana.
BUCKS 120, PISTONS 99 Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 26 points in Milwaukee’s big third quarter and the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons, 120-99, on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks with 27 points, and Khris Middleton had 24. Milwaukee is trying win a playoff series for the first time since 2001.
Luke Kennard had 19 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each added 18, and Drummond had 16 rebounds. Detroit star Blake Griffin sat out again with a left knee injury, but received a technical for the second straight game for arguing from the bench.
After scoring 10 points and playing only 14 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first seven points in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored Detroit 35-17 in the period to take a 93-76 lead into the fourth.
Detroit clawed within seven in the fourth before the Bucks put it away, capped by a hard drive by Antetokounmpo on a break. He banked in an awkward reverse-angle shot while crashing to the floor after being fouled by Drummond. He competed the three-point play it make it 105-87.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit.
GRIZZLIES HIRE EXECUTIVES The Memphis Grizzlies have hired Rich Cho as vice president of basketball strategy and Glen Grunwald as a senior adviser within the franchise’s basketball operations department.
Cho is a former Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers general manager. Grunwald was general manager of the Knicks and the Toronto Raptors.
Before coming to Portland, Cho was an assistant general manager with the Seattle SuperSonics and continued in that role when the franchise became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Grunwald worked with the Knicks from 2006-13, serving as executive vice president and general manager for the final two seasons of that stretch. He was Toronto’s general manager from 1997 to 2004.