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Published Time: 26.05.2024 - 09:02:20 Modified Time: 26.05.2024 - 09:02:20

• Game detail: BOS 114, IND 111 Pacers vs Celtics, Celtics, Boston Celtics


Michael Marot | The

• Game detail: BOS 114, IND 111

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jrue Holiday didn’t feel well all day. He even missed the team’s morning shootaround.

When it mattered most, though, the Celtics guard looked just fine.

Holiday converted a three-point play with 38.9 seconds left to give Boston its first lead in nearly 36 minutes, followed that with the game-saving steal and then clinched the 114-111 victory at Indiana with two free throws Saturday night to give Celtics a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half and can earn their second NBA Finals trip in three years with another win Monday at Indiana.

“I’m all right, had a fever, slept a lot. But I feel OK,” Holiday said. “I just made a play (at the end). He’s a great player, had a great game. I just made a play.”

Holiday finished with 14 points, five in the final 39 seconds, and had nine rebounds on a night that, at times, he appeared to be under the weather. Afterward, though, he sounded like himself and felt well enough to balance his children on his lap.

As Holiday struggled to find his footing, Boston’s other players got the job done.

Jayson Tatum matched his playoff career high with 36 points and had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Jaylen Brown added 24 points, and 37-year-old Al Horford had 23 points and was 7-of-12 on 3-pointers.

But it was Holiday’s late-game heroics that silenced Indiana’s raucous crowd and kept Boston a perfect 5-0 on the road in this season’s playoffs.

“I’m glad we got him, Jrue’s a hell of a competitor,” Tatum said. “Obviously, he’s won a championship. For him to come out here and put it all on the line for us and come up with a big play to win the game, we’ve got a hell of a team.”

The Pacers were already facing a formidable road back in this series — even before they learned All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton would not play in Game 3 because of a left hamstring injury. It’s not clear if he’ll be available for Game 4, either.

Still, the Pacers refused to break.

Andrew Nembhard led the Pacers with a career-high 32 points before Holiday stole the ball from him with 3.3 seconds remaining. T.J. McConnell finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam each had 22 points. Turner also had 10 rebounds.

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

As well as the Pacers played, scoring 69 points in the first half, twice taking 18-point leads and still holding a 107-99 advantage with three minutes to go against the NBA’s top team, it was clear the Pacers missed having Haliburton on the court.

“Courageous. Our guys played a great game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We came up a little short tonight, but we will be back Monday and we will be punching even harder.”

Still, a sellout crowd decked primarily in gold checkered flag shirts featuring dozens of individual stamps of Indiana’s state outline and filled with actors here for the Indianapolis 500 weekend celebration, helped energize the Pacers as they had through the first playoff home games, all wins.

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