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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Brown hits 3 to force OT and Celtics edge Pacers 133-128 in Game 1 of East finals

    Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) dunks the ball against Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    Boston — Jayson Tatum scored 36 points, including 10 in overtime after Jaylen Brown's tying 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Boston Celtics rallied just in time for a 133-128 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jrue Holiday added a season-high 28 points and Brown finished with 26.

    Game 2 is Thursday night in Boston.

    Tyrese Haliburton had 25 points and 10 assists for the Pacers, who knocked down 13 3-pointers and scored 56 points in the paint against a Celtics team still playing without 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis.

    But Boston dialed up its defense, finishing with 11 steals — three each by Brown, Tatum and Holiday. The Celtics become the first team in NBA playoff history to have three players record 25 points and three steals in a game.

    “We keep talking about protecting home court,” Celtics forward Al Horford said. “It’s whatever it takes.”

    Pascal Siakam added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Myles Turner finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Pacers, who twice turned it over with a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

    Brown made them pay for the second one, hitting a 3 from the corner with Siakam right in his face to tie it at 117.

    "Jaylen had great balance," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “Great pass, great shot.”

    Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said the loss was "totally on me" for not calling a timeout to advance the ball before their turnover that set up Brown's shot.

    Asked about the 21 turnovers Indiana committed, Haliburton said many of them were preventable.

    “I think it’s more on us,” he said. “I just felt like more of them were probably on us than them forcing turnovers.”

    The Celtics are now 2-2 when their opponent scores 100 or more points.

    “I think we always knew that there’s always a chance. We’ve seen crazy stuff happen all the time,” Holiday said. “I don’t think that we think we lost the game until we actually lost the game and that’s part of the reason why we were so resilient.”

    Indiana went back ahead 123-121 when Haliburton hit all three free throws after being fouled with 1:46 remaining. Tatum then muscled in a layup and was fouled by T.J. McConnell. He completed the three-point play to put Boston ahead for good.

    The Pacers turned it over again, this time by Haliburton. The ball found its way to Tatum at the top of key. He pumped, sidestepped a defender and sunk a 3 to make it 127-123 with 43 seconds left.

    Derrick White and Siakam traded layups. Holiday was fouled and hit two free throws to give Boston a 131-125 cushion.

    “It’s unfortunate we did so many good things in this game that it came down to a couple of mistakes at the end, but it’s the NBA playoffs,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to learn from it and we’ve got to bounce back”

    Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) dunks the ball against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
    Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) goes up for a shot against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7), forward Jayson Tatum (0) and center Al Horford (42) during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
    Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle reacts to his bench as guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) follows behind during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) puts up a shot against Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla reacts during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Indiana Pacers, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) drives against Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday (4) during the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) grabs a rebound against the Indiana Pacers during the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) goes up for a shot against Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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