NBA playoffs: Celtics become first team to advance with sweep of Pacers
Gordon Hayward scored 20 points and Marcus Morris started a decisive three-point flurry late in the fourth quarter Sunday to give the Boston Celtics a series-clinching 110-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Indianapolis.
It’s the first four-game sweep for the Celtics since 2011 and their second since 1986-87 in becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs.
Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 22 points and Tyreke Evans finished with a playoff career-high of 21 to lead the Pacers. It still wasn’t enough to prevent Indiana from enduring its second first-round sweep in three years — the only two best-of-seven sweeps in franchise history.
This game, unlike the previous three, did not turn on Boston’s suffocating second-half defense. Instead, it was a flagrant foul called on Indiana’s Cory Joseph with 6:45 to play.
Jayson Tatum took advantage by making both free throws to give the Celtics an 83-82 lead. Al Horford sank one of two on Boston’s next possession and then Morris started the decisive flurry with a three-pointer with 5:08 to play. Hayward’s three-point play with 4:24 left made it 90-83 and Boston made three more three-pointers over the next three minutes to take an insurmountable 102-90 lead.
Twice in the first half, it looked like Boston might run away with the victory.
But the Pacers charged back to take a 49-47 halftime lead and extended it to 56-49 in the third quarter.
That’s when Boston rallied, closing a methodical comeback with the final four points of the third to take a 73-72 lead and then put it away behind the shooting of Hayward and Morris, who had 18 points and eight rebounds.
Kyrie Irving had 14 points and seven assists for Boston.
Trail Blazers 111, at Thunder 98: Damian Lillard scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers held Russell Westbrook without a basket in the second half in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-98 on Sunday night to take a 3-1 lead in their series.
Lillard had another big third quarter after scoring 25 points in the period in a Game 3 loss Friday. In this game, he was 5 of 7 in the third to help Portland take control for good.
C.J. McCollum scored 27 points, Al-Farouq Aminu had 19 points and nine rebounds and Maurice Harkless added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Portland can close out the series Tuesday at home.
Paul George had 32 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City. Dennis Schroder added 17 points.
Raptors 107, at Magic 85: Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and Toronto beat Orlando to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell each scored 16 for the Raptors, who can advance with a home win in Game 5 on Tuesday. Toronto has now won three consecutive postseason games, only the third time that’s happened in franchise history.
Aaron Gordon scored 25 for the Magic, making his first seven shots of the second half. Evan Fournier scored 19 and Nikola Vucevic added 11 for the Magic, who committed 17 turnovers that became 21 Toronto points.
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