While the NBA is on COVID-19 hiatus, Jason Oliver is reliving some of the most notable upsets and best bookie beats over the years. This week, the Celtics bounce back to cover in the 2018-19 playoffs.
We’ve covered two NBA betting nightmare’s here already.
First, it was one for the punters when the Los Angeles Lakers dropped a 24-point lead to lose to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.
The bookie took a bath next up as Derrick Rose went down with an ACL injury before the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls as $9 series winners in 2011-12.
We’re going to keep things a little closer to home and rewind just 12 months this time around.
The Indiana Pacers looked to avenge their Game 1 defeat to the Celtics last year. Going in as +7.5 underdogs, the Pacers were on track for an upset to level the series at 1-1. Instead, they collapsed to not only lose the game, but also failed to cover.
Pacers @ Celtics – Game 2, First Round
Victor Oladipo wasn’t around for this one, but the Pacers still expected to be competitive.
After going into halftime down 52-50, the Pacers dug deep to defend themselves to a significant lead in the 3rd quarter. The Celtics had nothing outside of Kyrie Irving’s 10 points in the quarter. Meanwhile, all five Pacers starters chipped away on the offensive end while keeping the Celtics to just 13 points in the quarter.
The visitors carried a 79-68 lead into the 4th quarter. It wasn’t considered a certain win by any means, but the +7.5 line felt comfortable for Pacers backers.
The Celtics chipped away. As the clocked ticked towards five minutes left in the quarter, Irving knocked down a big three for the Celtics to take an 84-82 lead.
While the Pacers had blown their once handy lead, they fought back to take a 91-89 lead into the final minute of the game.
The +7.5 looked comfortable once again.
Until it wasn’t…
Jayson Tatum capped off a beautiful Celtics sequence which started with Al Horford blocking a shot at the other end for the Celtics to retake the lead 92-91. Tatum soon became the facilitator has he passed out of his shot to an open Gordon Hayward who knocked down the easy lay up.
Still, at 94-91 with 12.1 seconds left, the Pacers looked good to cover; one bucket would do it.
That bucket never came, though.
A turnover on the inbounds pass threw any chance of winning the game away for the Pacers. With another turnover on the next possession, it came down to free throws.
Hayward put a dagger into Pacers +7.5 punters with three seconds remaining.
Celtics win 99-91 to cover their -7.5 line.