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Pacers outmatched in Boston, head back to Indy down 2-0

Pascal Siakam #43 of the Indiana Pacers drives past Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the second quarter in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 23, 2024, in Boston. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WISH) — Nothing was falling for the Pacers in the second quarter. They went on a scoring drought of over five minutes to start the quarter. They entered the quarter with a two point lead and by the time they scored again, they were down 15. That 17-0 run to start the second quarter for the Celtics would give them a lead they would never give back.

The Celtics defended home court again, beating the Pacers 126-110 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

“Our energy isn’t where it was supposed to be,” Pacers forward Pascal Siakam said. “They just played better than us.”

During that scoring drought, it was Jaylen Brown that burned the Pacers. He had 17 of the Celtics 32 points in the quarter and had 40 points in the game.

The Pacers trimmed the lead down as low as two points in the third quarter, but could not sustain the momentum.

Tyrese Haliburton exited the game early for the Pacers with left hamstring soreness. He subbed out with 3:44 left in the third quarter and never returned. He missed time earlier in the season with a left hamstring injury.

“We hope that this is a very short term aggravation, but again, we’ll know more tomorrow and then Saturday,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Obviously, the next game is coming quickly.”

Turnovers were again a problem for the Pacers. They had 16, which was six more than Boston.

Usually, the bench provides a spark for the Pacers. On Thursday, they did not have their usual success. Their usual bench group of T.J. McConnell, Obi Toppin, Ben Sheppard, and Isaiah Jackson all ended with a negative plus-minus.

The Pacers were not able to put an outstanding performance by Pascal Siakam to good use. He was in incredible, knocking down 13 of his 17 shot attempts for 28 points. Nobody else on the Pacers reached 20 points.

Defense was also an issue. The Pacers had numerous lapses leaving shooters wide open from three-point range or giving up clean lanes to the basket. The Celtics shot over 50% from the field and hit 15 three-pointers.

The series will now go back to Indianapolis with the pressure on the Pacers. They have played excellent at Gainbridge Fieldhouse though, with an unbeaten 6-0 record at home in the playoffs. They have not lost at home since March 18, over two months ago.

Game 3 is set for Saturday at 8:30 p.m.