Pacers face critical playoff game against the Celtics on Friday

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 17: Darren Collison #2 of the Indiana Pacers charges Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at TD Garden on April 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two bad quarters have cost the Indiana Pacers two games in their playoff series with Boston, and with the series shifting to the Fieldhouse, correcting those mistakes is now the only way to keep their season alive.

“We missed too many layups,” said Bojan Bogdanovich, who was serenaded by his teammates after practice on his 30th birthday. “We need to put together 48 consistent minutes. Game three is the now most important game of our season.”

Indiana scored a franchise playoff-low eight points in the 3rd quarter of game one, virtually killing all the good they did in the first half on the way to an 84-74 loss. The offense came out firing in game two, building a 12-point lead early in the 4th quarter. That’s when they unraveled again, and the Celtics earned a 99-91 victory after outscoring Indiana 10-0 over the last minute of the game.

Coach Nate McMillan was asked if he got any sleep after that terrible finish.

“No, that’s why it looks like I’ve been up all night,” said the coach. “I’ve seen that 4th quarter four times already, and the last minute of that game is probably the worst basketball I’ve seen in a long time. Too many turnovers and bad decisions on both ends.”

The Pacers also need some offense from their big men. Both Myles Turner and Domas Sabonis, who are difference-makers on the defensive end, are struggling to score. Turner has just 13 points combined in the two losses while Sabonis has scored 8.

“They’re making it tough for me to get the ball,” said Sabonis. “Hopefully we can change some things to get us going.”

Game three tips at 8:30 Friday night when we’ll find out if the Pacers have any chance of extending their season back to Boston next week.

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