Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown assist Celtics in edging out Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Tatum Jayson Jump Shot Defeats Haliburton Tyrese Indiana Pacers With a Breathtaking Score 133 128 Brings Victory to Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics Edge Out Pacers in Overtime Thriller

BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics began the playoffs with the expectation of facing every team’s best effort.

The East’s top seed narrowly survived a challenging opener in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points, including 10 in overtime after Jaylen Brown’s clutch 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left in regulation, helping Boston rally to a 133-128 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

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

“Welcome to the NBA playoffs. You’ve just got to manage your emotions. Anything can happen,” Brown said of his tying 3-pointer. “It’s not over until the final buzzer sounds. … It’s not over until it’s over. We found a way to win the game at the very end.”

This crucial win gave the Celtics new life and maintained their home-court advantage, with Game 2 set for Thursday in Boston (8 ET, ESPN).

Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers with 25 points and 10 assists, contributing to the team’s 13 3-pointers and 56 points in the paint against a Celtics squad missing 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis.

Boston’s defense stepped up with 11 steals, three each by Brown, Tatum, and Holiday. This made the Celtics 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, and 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 capitalized on the second turnover, hitting a 3-pointer from the corner with Siakam defending, tying the game at 117.

“Jrue made a good pass, (Derrick White) set a great screen, and the rest is history,” Brown said.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla praised Brown’s composure.

“Jaylen had great balance,” he said. “Great pass, great shot.”

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle took responsibility for not calling a timeout to advance the ball before the turnover that led to Brown’s shot.

Addressing the 21 turnovers committed by Indiana, Haliburton noted that many 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.

Holiday mentioned the team’s resilience after falling behind late in regulation.

“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 briefly led 123-121 when Haliburton hit all three free throws after being fouled with 1:46 remaining. Tatum responded by muscling in a layup, drawing a foul from T.J. McConnell, and completing the three-point play to put Boston ahead for good.

The Pacers turned it over again, this time by Haliburton. Tatum then hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 127-123 with 43 seconds left.

White and Siakam exchanged layups, and Holiday was fouled, making 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.”

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