Celtics avoid meltdown, edge Pacers in final seconds, 112-111


The Boston Celtics seem to be come up with different ways to win, and you can add one more to the list.

Terry Rozier came up with a steal and subsequent dunk with 1.6 seconds to play that lifted Boston to a 112-111 win.

“We never gave up. We never thought we were going to lose the game,” Rozier told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win.

"We got fortunate. Terry made a great play," said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. 

Rozier’s late-game heroics highlighted a night that truly belonged to the guards.

Kyrie Irving led a last-second charge in which the Celtics outscored the Pacers 10-4 in the final 31.3 seconds.

Irving led the Celtics with 30 points, including a late 3-pointer that brought the Celtics within 111-110 with 9.3 seconds to play.

But the big scorer of the night was Oladipo who had a game-high 38 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Boston opened the fourth quarter with a five-man group of Rozier, Shane Larkin, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Daniel Theis that has not played a ton together this season (six minutes total, according to nba.com/stats, prior to tonight’s game). But they have a defensive rating of 27.3 and an offensive rating of 139.9 – both impressive statistics.

Different Celtics stepped up, including their much-maligned bench which had a number of players chip in during the latter stages of the fourth quarter.

Larkin made important baskets.

Theis grabbed key rebounds.

Rozier and Marcus Smart were each playing strong defense in addition to chipping in timely shots.

The Pacers eventually made it a one-possession game, 100-97, after a jumper by Domantas Sabonis with 2:16 to play.

And Oladipo converted a 3-point play that tied the game at 100 with 1:52 to play – the closest the Pacers had been since the opening tip-off.

Oladipo drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 52.2 seconds to play that capped off a 12-2 Pacers run but even more important, gave them a 105-102 lead.

For the second time in as many games, the Boston came clicking offensively. They opened up Monday’s game with a 23-10 run fueled by the Celtics making their first 10 shots from the field. Boston continued to control the action and led 38-21 after the first quarter.

And just like they dominated the first quarter for the second game in a row, Boston found itself struggling for long stretches in the second.

Trailing by double digits most of the first quarter, Indiana got Boston’s lead down to single digits with an 11-3 run capped off by a Thaddeus Young hook shot which led to a Celtics time-out with 4:22 to play in the second and Boston’s lead down to 50-41.

But the Celtics regrouped and went on a 12-6 run a basket from Jaylen Brown that put Boston ahead 62-47 at the half.

Boston’s grip on the game began to loosen up in the third quarter as the Pacers’ defense started creating transition baskets that fueled a 10-1 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 74-68 which led to Brad Stevens calling a time-out with 3:45 to play in the third. The Celtics closed out the third with an 85-78 lead.


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