Bogdanovic's hot hand gives Pacers series lead over Cavs
Indiana forward ties post-season franchise record with 7 3-pointers
The Indiana Pacers kept insisting this team was different.
Anyone who doubted them coming into the playoffs understands now.
On Friday, the one-year anniversary of a historic playoff collapse against Cleveland, Indiana flipped the script by rallying from a 17-point halftime deficit and held on for a 92-90 victory over the Cavaliers to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They can take command of the series by winning Sunday on their home court.
"Last year's team, I don't know if we would have gone down 17, I don't know if we would have overcome it," forward Thaddeus Young said. "But this team, we've been resilient all year. We've overcome adversity."
And on Friday they did it against a Cavaliers team that was 39-0 in the regular season when leading after three quarters.
Bogdanovic shines on both ends
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 of his playoff career-high 30 points in the second half, finishing 7 of 9 on 3-pointers. Victor Oladipo added 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Final stat lines from the <a href="https://twitter.com/Pacers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Pacers</a> Game 3 victory at home!<br><br>Bojan Bogdanovic: 30 PTS, 7 3PM (ties postseason franchise record)<br>Victor Oladipo: 18 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB, 3 STL<br>Thaddeus Young: 12 PTS, 7 REB, 3 STL<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pacers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a><br><br>LBJ: 28 PTS, 12 REB, 8 AST <a href="https://t.co/FXrJR9zNdT">pic.twitter.com/FXrJR9zNdT</a>—@NBA
Bogdanovic also spent most of the game defending LeBron James, who finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and six turnovers. He joined Michael Jordan as the only players in league history with 100 double-doubles in the post-season. Jordan had 109.
James almost single-handedly rallied his team twice from seven-point deficits in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
The three-time defending Eastern Conference champs were outscored 52-33 over the final 24 minutes.
"We were more aggressive in the first half. We had tempo, they didn't," James said. "Then they were more aggressive in the second half, they had tempo, and we didn't."
Pacers return favour to Cavs
Young is one of the few players still around from the record-breaking, 26-point collapse last year, which is one reason coach Nate McMillan has continually opted not to discuss it.
After the Pacers cut the 57-40 halftime deficit to 69-63 at the end of three, the Pacers continued to apply pressure and eventually Bogdanovic finally broke through with a four-point play that gave Indiana an 81-77 lead with 6:10 left. It was Indiana's first lead since midway through the first quarter.
He was far from finished.
Bogdanovic knocked down another 3 to make it a seven-point game.
Bojan Bogdanovic is on fire! 🔥🔥<br><br>Consecutive triples puts the <a href="https://twitter.com/Pacers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Pacers</a> on top 84-77! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pacers</a><br><br>5:40 left in the 4th on <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNNBA</a> <a href="https://t.co/tjdO1DTptk">pic.twitter.com/tjdO1DTptk</a>—@NBA
Then, after James countered with seven straight to tie the score, Bogdanovic scored on a layup and hit his final 3 before Young's layup made it 91-84 with 53 seconds to go.
James and Kevin Love made back-to-back threes to make it 91-90, and Cleveland got one more chance after Darren Collison missed the second free throw with 5 seconds left.
But J.R. Smith's 38-foot heave came up short.
"It's great to be on the other end," Myles Turner said. "You never want to get down that far and have to try and come back. To be down in that position is not ideal. The resiliency of this team, it's unbelievable."
Bucks overwhelm Celtics to get on board
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 defence after a disheartening 14-point loss in Game 2, getting contributions from up and down the roster.
Backup centre 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.
😱 GIANNIS GONNA GIANNIS! 😱<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FearTheDeer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FearTheDeer</a> <a href="https://t.co/pYrQFrs3ID">pic.twitter.com/pYrQFrs3ID</a>—@NBA
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.
Bucks make great use of length
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 centre 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.