Celtics push Pacers to elimination brink
MANILA, Philippines – The Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 series lead in the NBA Eastern Conference first-round playoffs after dispatching the Indiana Pacers, 104-96, on Friday, April 19 (Saturday, April 20, Manila time).
Jaylen Brown fired 23 points on a near-perfect 8-of-9 shooting and Kyrie Irving again proved stellar with 19 points, 10 assists and 5 boards as the Celtics moved within a win of advancing to the conference semifinals.
“The confidence is at a very high level,” said Irving. “We know what we’re capable of. As you see down the stretch, everybody was making big plays.”
The Pacers held the lead at the break, 61-59, but the Celtics turned the game around by holding Indiana to just 12 points in the 3rd quarter.
Jayson Tatum, who came through the clutch for the Celtics in Game 2, added 18 points and 7 rebounds.
Al Horford also scored 16 and grabbed 8 boards while Marcus Morris rounded out the Celtics’ double-digit scorers with 11 points and 7 rebounds.
“It’s not just Irving that they had making plays. It’s a solid team,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan.
Tyreke Evans had 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 15 to lead the Pacers, who will fight for survival in Indiana on Sunday.