As the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers battle for home court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Celtics prevailed 114-112 on Friday.
Kyrie Irving came up clutch, attacking the rim for a game-winning layup leaving little-to-no time on the clock for the Pacers to retaliate.
The win pushes Boston ahead of Indiana in the standings with six games left in the season. These teams will meet one more time before facing off in the first round of the playoffs, barring any miracles.
Here are your takeaways from this potential playoff preview...
Big night for Baynes
Aron Baynes was inserted into the starting lineup alongside Al Horford for Friday's contest.
The Aussie big man registered a season-high 33 minutes, recording his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Baynes made his presence felt immediately, making plays on both ends of the floor right from the get-go. He had seven points, three rebounds (two offensive), an assist and even drew a charge in his first nine minute stint.
Head coach Brad Stevens stayed true to the Horford/Baynes pairing down the stretch as well, electing to keep both the big men in the lineup to get the most out of his team defensively.
"We need basket protection and they do a great job of that," Kyrie Irving stated in his post game interview. "They have a great chemistry at the four and five so it works for us."
This was the second consecutive game that Stevens went with Baynes and Horford in the starting lineup, moving Marcus Morris to the bench.
The Celtics won both of those games and you could certainly see Stevens continue to ride with this lineup down the stretch of the regular season into the postseason, just as he did a year ago.
Bogdanovic stays hot
Bogdanovic led the way once again for the Pacers.
In 32 minutes of action, the Croatian scored a team-high 27 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. Bogdanovic was at his best in the second quarter, when he helped cut the Thunder's lead from 11 to three by scoring 12 of Indiana's 35 points.
He hit two of his three 3-point attempts and five of his six free throw attempts in the frame.
:four::four: is automatic from :three: pic.twitter.com/sZ804Z5IhA- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 29, 2019
Bogdanovic has been playing at an incredibly high level since All-Star Weekend. He entered Friday's matchup averaging 22.2 points per game on a scorching 51.3 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point range since the break.
That's been much-needed in Victor Oladipo's absence. Even though they lost on Friday, he put a Pacers team without its All-Star in position to beat a Celtics at full strength.
Kyrie in the clutch
With the game on the line, Kyrie Irving took matters into his own hands.
In a tied game with seven seconds to go, Irving took a handoff from Horford and made his way to the rim.
He deked Thad Young with ball fake toward an open Jayson Tatum in the corner and finished at the basket to win the game.
Kyrie Irving fakes out the defense and puts home the game-winning bucket in tonight's @JetBlue Play of the Game! pic.twitter.com/lhYUqKQsYv- Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 30, 2019
Irving finished with 30 points (11-22 FG, 3-8 3PT), five assists and three steals. 20 of those 30 points came in the second half, which included a personal 10-point run in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
Mock first round playoff preview
The Pacers entered Friday's matchup with a one game lead on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
They now have the same record with six games remaining in the season.
It looks like they'll be playing each other in the first round regardless of how the final games of the regular season play out, but the Pacers and Celtics are fighting for homecourt advantage, which is a big deal considering they've both been considerably better at home than they've been on the road this season.
The Celtics are now 27-12 at home and 18-19 on the road compared to 28-9 at home and 17-22 on the road for the Pacers.
The Pacers and Celtics play each other one more time this season, in Indiana on April 5.