The Indiana Pacers’ strange season came to an end Sunday, with their series with the Boston Celtics ending in a sweep. And Boston’s 110-106 win Sunday came despite lackluster shooting from starters Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, who combined to go just 8 for 32 from the field (4 for 19 and 4 for 13 respectively). Instead, it was their bench players who stepped up, with Gordon Hayward contributing a team-high 20 points and Marcus Morris adding 18. Here’s one of Hayward’s late drives:
Gordon Hayward scoring in isolation in the clutch in a playoff game? Yes, I am crying pic.twitter.com/ruqrpR7Ei0
— Max Carlin (@maxacarlin) April 21, 2019
The Pacers kept it close for much of this contest, leading 23-21 after the first quarter and 49-47 at the half. But the Celtics pulled back to lead 73-72 after three and then extended their lead to nine points on a Jayson Tatum three-pointer with 3:32 to go. (Tatum had 18 points and eight rebounds on the night.) Indiana was never really able to catch up from there.
It’s worth wondering how this series might have looked with Pacers’ star Victor Oladipo, who was ruled out for the season after an ACL tear back in January. In his absence, Indiana got some good efforts from the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic (22 points and eight rebounds Sunday), Tyreke Evans (21 points off the bench), and Darren Collison (19 points, six rebounds and five assists), but their overall shooting was a problem; Boston outshot them 46.2 percent to 40.9 percent from the field, even with the aforementioned struggles of Irving and Horford. The Celtics were deep enough to survive, and they’ll be moving on to the second round as a result.