Pacers coach Rick Carlisle vows vengeance vs. Celtics after Game 3 loss: ‘We are going after them’

INDIANAPOLIS – With the Pacers trailing the Boston Celtics 3-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, thanks to two blown leads late in two games, Indiana coach Rick Carlisle vowed revenge Saturday night.

“Believe me when I tell you, we’re chasing them,” Carlisle said of the Celtics, after Boston stole a 114-111 victory from the Pacers in the final seconds of Game 3.

Carlisle said the Pacers will “attack” or “after” Boston at least three times, and added that they will “hit even harder” in Game 4, which takes place Monday here in Indianapolis.

No team in NBA history has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit, and the Pacers could easily be up 2-1 in this series without serious mistakes late in the game.

“We will not be discouraged,” he said. “We’re going to be back here Monday night, looking to extend the series, and we’re going to attack them even harder.”

Carlisle was delayed from making the podium at Gainbridge Fieldhouse after his team suffered a crushing defeat in which they led by 18 points, and by eight with just 2:38 to play, while their best player was absent due to injury. ‘a hamstring injury and one of his actors made the play of his life.

But that player, Andrew Nembhard, had the ball stolen by Jrue Holiday with 3.3 seconds remaining and the Pacers trailed by one point. The steal took place near the Pacers’ foul line and Nembhard ended up on the ground.

Carlisle was furious, demanding a foul be called in real time and then while the game was stopped to review a foul committed by the Pacers after the steal. He said dryly: “I just rewatched the ending, so you don’t need to remind me – I saw everything that happened.”

Carlisle said “there were a lot of things that I didn’t agree with, that I think any Indiana fan would disagree with,” in an apparent reference to officiating.

A reporter started to follow up and he interrupted: “everything, everything that happened.”

Holiday, who was listed as “questionable” to play due to fever but finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals, scored the final 5 points and singled in Nembhard to secure the victory. He said his flight was clean.

“I guess, from my point of view, I thought I beat him to the spot,” Holiday said. “On the contrary, we were chest to chest. And then the ball came out, it was just a little tap on his left hand. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I should think about it again, but I didn’t really think there was that much contact. But it all happened so quickly.

A crucial turnover in the final seconds of Game 1 cost the Pacers a chance to win in regulation, and they fell in overtime. In that game, Carlisle said he made a mistake by not calling a timeout to advance the ball, which would have given his team better angles to inbound the ball, draw a foul and win.

Carlisle could have called a timeout as Nembhard ran down the court against Holiday, but said he didn’t do so this time because “with 8 or 9 seconds left, and you’re in transition after a miss , I trust our players to be able to create It’s a better move than calling a timeout and asking them to set their defense, broadcast our end-of-game information on their video and show it to their players.

“It’s more of a basketball game type situation, and we’ve done well this year by trusting our players.”

Nembhard scored a career-high 32 points – regular or playoff – with nine assists while his usual backcourt teammate, Tyrese Haliburton, was out with a hamstring strain. TJ McConnell scored 23 points off the bench, and Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner added 22 points each.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 36 points, 10 rebounds and no turnovers. Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Al Horford added 23 points on 7 3s.

After Holiday converted two foul shots with 1.7 seconds left, Carlisle still had that timeout and used it to advance the ball for one final play. Nembhard was the inbounder and his four teammates were all lined up in the backcourt like wide receivers on a football field, in a spread formation. The play is designed to prevent the defense from fouling before a 3-point shot can be attempted, and it almost worked.

Aaron Nesmith made a football-style pick and broke free in the corner, but his open 3-point try missed.

“I mean, we’ve had (the play) for a while… do you want me to just hand you our playbook,” Carlisle said. “It’s a play that was designed by (Pacers assistant coach) Mike Weinar, who invented it. We’ve used it several times over the past couple of years and have seen it pretty well. If the same situation arises in the next match, we’ll use something a little different and hope to achieve the same kind of look.

The Celtics trailed by 18 in the third quarter and closed the game on a 13-2 run. There is no doubt that Haliburton, who was injured in Game 2, will be able to return from his hamstring injury on Monday.

“We have the best fans in the NBA here, we have the greatest basketball building on the planet and we have another game in front of (Indiana fans) to go after these guys,” Carlisle said. “And believe me when I tell you we’re going after them.”

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(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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