Celtics use furious rally to win Game 3, push Pacers to brink

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jrue Holiday overcame an illness to convert a go-ahead three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining and make a game-saving steal as the Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 114-111 on Saturday night. The Celtics, who overcame an 18-point deficit, took a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Boston can clinch its second trip to the NBA Finals in three seasons with a Game 4 victory Monday in Indianapolis.

Jayson Tatum had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Jaylen Brown added 24 points and Al Horford had 23 points and seven 3-pointers as the Celtics won their sixth straight playoff game and remained undefeated on the road this postseason.

Horford’s seven open 3-pointers are tied for the most by any player in a playoff game in the last 10 postseasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Holiday played despite being listed as questionable with an illness unrelated to COVID-19.

“For him to come out here and put everything on the line for us and come up with a big play to win the game, we have a heck of a team,” Tatum said in his postgame interview on ABC.

Andrew Nembhard led the Pacers with a career-high 32 points before Holiday stole the ball from him with 3.3 seconds left. TJ McConnell finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, while Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam each had 22 points.

Indiana played without All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton – who sat out with a left hamstring injury – and certainly missed him as Boston closed the game on a streak of 13-2. This is the first loss in seven playoff home games for the Pacers.

The sold-out crowd, decked out mostly in gold checkered flag shirts emblazoned with dozens of individual stamps depicting the outlines of the state of Indiana as part of the Indianapolis 500 weekend celebration, helped inject energy with Haliburton’s absence.

But the crowd was calmed by Holiday’s big layup, the ensuing free throw and the defensive play of the game. He closed out the game by making two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Indiana had a chance to force overtime, but Aaron Nesmith’s 3-pointer was off-target.

It was a wild game, with Indiana taking an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter and again midway through the third. But Boston responded a second time by forcing a series of turnovers that turned into a 13-4 spurt to get within 90-81 after three quarters.

The Celtics were just getting started. Boston opened the fourth quarter on a 9-3 run that cut it to 93-90 on a Horford 3 with 8:29 to play.

Then, after Indiana rebuilt a 107-99 advantage with 3:05 left, Boston closed the game on a 13-2 run that sealed its fifth straight road victory in these postseasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

News Source :
Gn sports

Back to top button