Pacers throw away their chances of winning Game 2 against the Celtics

Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers /

The Indiana Pacers nearly left Boston with the series even. Instead, fourth quarter mistakes allowed the Celtics to take a 2-0 series lead.

Whether it was Wesley Matthews or Bojan Bogdanovic’s fault on the ill-fated out of bounds play, the Indiana Pacers fourth quarter scoring drought was as much of or more of a problem than that turnover. (Update: Wesley took the blame.)

Make no mistake, any chance of winning the game was figuratively and literally thrown away at that moment, but another awful offensive quarter was at the heart of Indiana’s collapse.

The Pacers didn’t make a single two-pointer or free throw in the final period while they went 4 of 17 (23.5%) from the field. That’s only slightly worse than Game 1’s 2 of 19 (10.5%) performance in the third quarter. In both games, that was the biggest reason for their loss.

Arguably the Pacers outplayed the Celtics in 5 or 6 of the 8 quarters so far in this series, but their insufferably bad quarters of failure in the two games have starved them of any chance of winning.

Final. 99. 18. 91. 100

Pacers’ bench goes from heroes to villains in Game 2

The Pacers bench reeled off a few runs in Game 1, but things couldn’t have gone much worse for them in Game 2. While they statistically outscored the Boston bench 26-22, Indiana’s bench players couldn’t stop anyone on defense.

They weren’t perfect in Game 1 by any means, but collectively they played solidly. Game 2, however, was more of a collective failure.

The minutes the bench players shared with Indiana’s starters were painful to watch, particularly when Myles Turner wasn’t on the floor. When you look to when Boston went on scoring runs, it was nearly exclusive to when Indiana’s bench players were on the floor.

They weren’t responsible for the Pacers struggles in the fourth, but the game might not have been as close if they hadn’t struggled to slow down Boston while some of the starters rested.

Kyrie Irving continues to be nigh unstoppable

Even when the Pacers played smothering defense on Kyrie Irving, he found a way to score.

Outside of Jayson Tatum, Irving is the only real offense the Celtics have had. But when he manages to shoot 15 of 26 (57.7%) from the field and 6 of 10 from deep, he does enough damage to keep Boston ahead.

The starters played exceptional defense, but those bench minutes cost the Pacers dearly.

Pacers let loose from 3-point range

On the bright side, the Pacers played modern basketball as they shot 13 of 34 from 3-point range or 38.2%

The 34 3-point attempts in Game 2 tied their second post attempts in a game this season. Twice they attempted as many and only in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks did they take more with 37 attempts.

Taking and making 3-pointers is something they need to carry over into Game 3 when they return home to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It may not save them, but it gives them a better chance of avoiding a sweep and protecting home court.

DARREN COLLISON. C-. A mostly solid game, nothing more, nothing less. 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting but only managed to balance out 3 turnovers with 3 assists. He wasn’t at fault for anything in particular, but he wasn’t on the positive side of the ledger, either.. PG. Indiana Pacers

D. <strong>Hero Wesley Matthews:</strong> 2 critical 3-pointers, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. <strong>Villain Wesley Matthews:</strong> One crushingly bad turnover and one ill-advised 3-point attempt.. SG. Indiana Pacers. WESLEY MATTHEWS

C-. 23 points on 9 of 21 shooting, but 4 of 8 from deep. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers on offense while making some so-so plays defensively — but did grab 6 of his 8 rebounds on defense. However, which he is the only reliable scorer at times, he probably needs to save up some energy.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG. C. <br />I don’t want to be too critical of Thaddeus Young’s 6 of 13 shooting (including 1 of 5 from deep) because of the number of attempts coming from Boston getting their way defensively. Boston’s been daring the Pacers to run their offense through him as of late and it’s mostly working. Young is better as a cleanup guy than the one shooting the ball this often. However, Young’s effort defensively in the form of 5 rebounds and 3 steals helps make up the difference.

B. 8 points and 3 rebounds nor his 2 blocked shots properly explain his impact on the game, for better and for worse. On one hand, Indiana was -48.3 with him off the floor thanks to his brick-wall like defense. On the other, he took 7 shots in the game, making 3 of them. His defense will continue to pay the bills for the Pacers but it’s a lot harder to get ahead when he passes up shots that he should be taking. It’s hard to fault him too much, but it also feels like him passing up shots is cost the Pacers a chance of stealing a win.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

This hasn’t been a great series for Domantas Sabonis as far as his 6MOY candidacy goes. Young only took one shot, missing it, and split a pair of free throws. His 5 rebounds and 5 assists aren’t too bad though. But when he has the worst net rating of any of the Pacers after two games, he certainly shoulders some blame in both losses.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. D-

B-. Tyreke Evans had a strong night with 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 4 from deep. He also picked up a steal and seven rounds along the way. Defensively, however, he was part of a second unit that struggled to stop the Celtics from scoring. None the less, a solid game from Evans.. SG. Indiana Pacers. TYREKE EVANS

D. 3 of 6 shooting for 6 points usually would be an alright night for Cory Joseph, but like many of the players coming off of Indiana’s bench, he saw too much offense from the Celtics when he was on the floor.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

C-. 4 points and an assist, but sadly the road version of Doug McDermott wasn’t available in Boston on Wednesday night.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT

Indiana Pacers. AARON HOLIDAY. C. Only played 5 minutes, but did score 2 points.. PG

Next. Bojan Bogdanovic: "I don’t like to change teams.". dark

The Pacers come home for Game 3 on Friday. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m.