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Pacers final score: Pacers edge out Celtics 99-97

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Indiana holds on in a crazy finish against Boston to move to 3rd in the East. Victor Oladipo led the way with 27 points, with Myles Turner finishing with a 19 point, 10 rebound double double.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Another wild finish between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics this time went in Indiana’s favor, with the Pacers holding on late for a two-point victory. The Pacers struggled in the first half to get anything going against the Boston defense, but opened up in the third, outscoring the Celtics 34-20.

The Pacers worked themselves back in the game due to hot three point shooting, but despite pushing their lead to nine early in the fourth, turnovers haunted the Pacers the entire second half, giving Boston extra opportunities. The Pacers allowed the Celtics to score 18 points off of turnovers, which proved crucial as Indiana was forced to deal with the Legend of Marcus Smart late.

Smart led the Celtics with 20 points, hitting six threes, two straight that kept the Pacers from closing out the game with two minutes to go. On the other end, the Pacers were getting clutch buckets from Victor Oladipo, but the Celtics refused to go away, tying the game up at 95-95 with 36 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Myles Turner worked inside for a go-ahead layup and a big stop allowed Oladipo to push the lead to four with 10 seconds left. Smart would miss a three, but a Jayson Tatum rebound allowed the Celtics to cut the lead to two. On the inbound, an errant Oladipo arm wave found Marcus Morris’s face, sending Morris into a massive flop that resulted in an Oladipo offensive foul, setting up Boston with the ball down two with two seconds left.

On that possession, the Celtics went for the tie with Terry Rozier missing the bucket, pushing the Pacers to the win.

It is worth noting that as the game opened in the second half, Indiana was running out of reasons to lose the game. The Pacers brought out a fully healthy roster for the second game this season while the Celtics opened short Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, then losing Kyrie Irving at halftime.

That said, it still came down to the Pacers to take the game after trailing by 10 at halftime. The Pacers did so by capitalizing on shots at the rim. Indiana scored 16 of their 46 points in the paint in the third quarter, which helped them hit four of their 12 three pointers in the quarter.

Indiana shot 12-22 from three in the game, putting them over 50% from deep in three of their four games. The one game under 50% was a certified disaster, but the 12 makes was big in countering Boston’s own 12 makes, albeit in 37 attempts. The shots for the Pacers came from the starters, with four making a three, all hitting multiple shots.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the way from deep by hitting four as part of his 14 points with Cory Joseph scoring eight on a perfect 2-2 from three point range. Getting that contribution was important to help lend support to big games from both Oladipo and Turner.

Oladipo led the way for all scorers with 27 points, scoring 20 of those in the second half. As the game reached Winning Time, Oladipo scored seven in the final 2:13, keeping Boston’s late run at bay, finishing with four assists and three steals.

Turner took advantage of not having to go against Horford, coming up with a 19 point, 10 rebound double double, hitting 3-4 from deep and sending away three blocks. Fourteen of his 19 came in the second half, including a pair of threes in the third, hushing the Boston crowd in the process.

The Pacers bench was led by Domantas Sabonis, scoring 10 points, joined by four from Trevor Booker in Nate McMillan’s 10-man rotation. Glenn Robinson III had one of this best games since returning, scoring seven on 3-4 shooting, look sharp in his shot selection. Darren Collison didn’t shoot so well in his second game, finishing with just two points on 0-2 shooting, but did dish 10 assists to six different players.

Indiana kicks off their first of four against Eastern Conference playoff teams with a win, which is big given how tight the playoff race is. Indiana moves to 6-1 against Eastern playoff teams since the start of February, giving them a big edge in the games that are most important.

The win, also coupled with a Cavaliers loss in Los Angeles, moves the Pacers into 3rd place in the East at 39-28. How long that lasts will be determined by these next three games, which begins with the sixth place Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. Philadelphia sits just two games back, one in the loss column.