INDIANAPOLIS — Malcolm Brogdon scored 29 points and Aaron Holiday scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Indiana Pacer rally past the Boston Celtics, 122-117 on Wednesday night.
Indiana trailed 94-84 after three quarters but took the lead for good on the first of Holiday’s two 3-pointers with 4:16 left.
Kemba Walker scored a season-high 44 points and had seven assists — not quite enough to extend the Celtics’ four-game winning streak. And he put up an airball on his final shot, a 3-pointer that would have tied the score with 4 seconds remaining.
Indiana snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series — including Boston’s first-round playoff sweep last season.
It took everything the Pacers had in their arsenal. Domantas Sabonis flirted with a triple-double before finishing with 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Brogdon closed it out by making all six free throws in the final 17 seconds.
Getting to that point was itself a feat.
Walker scored 15 in the first quarter and his scoring flurries at the end of the first half and start of the second half completely wiped out the 13-point lead Indiana had built in the second quarter.
So when Walker and Jayson Tatum combined for all of the Celtics’ points in 12-2 run to end the third, it looked like the Celtics had taken control.
Instead, the Pacers forced four quick turnovers to start the fourth, finally tied the score at 102 on two free throws from Doug McDermott with 5:07 left, took the lead on Holiday’s 3 and held on for the victory.
Celtics: Guard Marcus Smart missed his second straight game with an infected left eye. … Boston had assists on each of its first 11 baskets. … Jaylen Brown had 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists before fouling out. … Tatum finished with 16 points and Daniel Theis scored 11. … The Celtics were 14 of 36 on 3s.
Pacers: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and new Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske both attended the game. … Justin Holiday finished with 17 points. … T.J. Warren scored 14 and Myles Turner had 11. … Brogdon had eight of the team’s 27 assists and went 15 of 15 from the free-throw line.
BACK HOME AGAIN
Trips to Indianapolis are usually enjoyable for Boston coach Brad Stevens, who led nearby Butler to two Final Four appearances after growing up in Brownsburg — an Indianapolis suburb.
And he’s far from alone.
Gordon Hayward also grew up on the west side of Indianapolis and played on Butler’s first Final Four team. Rookie guard Carsen Edwards starred at Purdue and rookie guard Romeo Langford was the state’s Mr. Basketball Award winner two years ago. He played at Indiana University last year and had a large group of supporters make the trip from his southern Indiana hometown, New Albany, for the game.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan says two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo looks better in practice and continues to make progress, but there’s still no timetable for his return from a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee.
He suffered the injury in January.
“He’s still rehabbing, working hard and he’s certainly getting better,” McMillan said. “He’s getting closer but I think he’s still a ways off.”
Celtics: Head home for their second showdown this season with division rival Philadelphia on Friday.
Pacers: Will try to extend their winning streak over the Hawks to six straight Friday in Atlanta.