NBA playoffs: Pacers rally to beat Cavaliers and take series lead 2-1
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points, leading the Indiana Pacers back from a 17-point halftime deficit for a 92-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Cleveland was 39-0 during the regular season when leading after three quarters and kept that perfect mark intact with a Game 2 win.
The incredible second-half charge came exactly one year after Indiana blew a 26-point halftime lead in a historic playoff collapse against the Cavs.
This time, the Pacers delivered a devastating blow to the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs — on a night LeBron Jones joined Michael Jordan as the only players in playoff history to record 100 double-doubles. James finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Cleveland from losing its first game this season after leading following the third quarter.
The biggest reason for the collapse: Bogdanovic.
After charging back with striking distance, he completed a four-point play to finally give the Pacers an 81-77 lead with 6:10 left. Bogdanovic followed that with another to make it as seven-point game.
Then James answered with the next seven to tie it.
Bogdanovic came right back with a layup and another three before Thaddeus Young scored to give the Pacers a 91-84 cushion with 53 seconds left.
James knocked down a three to cut the deficit to four, and the Cavs got another three from Kevin Love with 7 seconds left to make it 91-90.
Darren Collison made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds left, giving Cleveland one more chance. But J.R. Smith’s long desperation heave came up short.
Bell, Wall each get 28, Wizards beat Raptors 122-103
Bradley Beal heeded his coach’s plea to “do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, his All-Star backcourt running mate John Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and the Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 122-103 Friday night in an occasionally heated game to cut their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series deficit to 2-1.
After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they played with enough defensive focus to get produce 19 turnovers by Toronto, leading to 28 points for Washington.
Add it all up, and it was a rare recent victory for Washington, which had lost seven of eight games dating to the regular season.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 23 points on 10-for-22 shooting one game after scoring 37, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists.
The start initially had the look of “Here we go again,” as Toronto moved ahead 27-18. The Raptors, after all, outscored Washington by an average of 11 points in the first period over Games 1 and 2. But this time, Washington responded with a 12-point run capped by Beal’s three with under a minute left.
Beal scored 12 in the quarter a day after he, Wall and Brooks met to discuss ways to get the All-Star shooting guard more involved in the offense. Entering Friday, Beal was averaging only 14 points in the playoffs, well below his 22.6 average during the regular season.
“I’d like to see him be more aggressive,” Brooks said before Friday’s game. “I can do my job, but he’s going to have to do his job.”
The game was filled with some tense moments.
All of about 2 1/2 minutes in, Washington’s Markieff Morris and Toronto’s OG Anunoby needed to be separated after a near-fight. Morris hit the deck after getting fouled by Anunoby, then got up and shoved the Raptors rookie, before teammates and officials got between the two. Morris and Anunoby drew technicals.
Early in the third quarter, Lowry was called for a flagrant foul when he swiped a hand across Beal’s forehead as the Wizards guard went in for a breakaway layup.
Midway through that period, things nearly spiraled out of control. Beal grabbed at the ball when Jonas Valanciunas wouldn’t let it go after being called for an offensive foul. Several players got in each other’s faces, including Serge Ibaka and Wall, prompting the latter’s bodyguard to intercede. The episode ended without any punches thrown. Wall and Ibaka continued jawing at each other from a safe distance, drawing double techs, along with the “T” given to Beal.
As that scene unfolded on the court, spectators directed “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants at the opponents from Canada, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” blared over the arena’s speakers.
Amid it all, the hosts just kept pulling further and further away. Washington led by as many as 22 points, at 98-76, late in the third, which ended 101-82.
Bucks overwhelm Celtics 116-92 to get first win of series
Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and the Milwaukee Bucks used a dominating first half to overwhelm the Boston Celtics 116-92 on Friday night, narrowing their deficit in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.
Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.
Milwaukee found its defense after a disheartening 14-point loss in Game 2, getting contributions from up and down the roster.
Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and blocked five shots. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova, a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Al Horford scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell behind by 23 at halftime and got no closer than 76-62 with 3:06 left in the third quarter on Jayson Tatum’s 3-pointer.
The game was so well in hand that the Bucks closed out the victory even with Antetokounmpo on the bench for much of the fourth quarter with five fouls. Middleton had eight points in the fourth.
Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee. The Celtics will need to get off to a much better start if they want to avoid going home for Game 5 with a 2-2 series tie.
Milwaukee hustled for loose balls and stayed active around the paint, used its length to get deflections and disrupt Boston in the lane.
The 7-foot-1 Maker, in particular, provided a huge boost to help Milwaukee counter what had been a decisive edge off the bench for the Celtics. Maker got extended minutes only because starting center John Henson missed the game with a sore back.
Nearly everything else went Milwaukee’s way, too.
Parker, who voiced displeasure this week after playing just 24 minutes over the first two games, was 7 of 12 from the field and played 30 minutes. Bledsoe, outplayed by Rozier in the first two games, shot 8 of 13.
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