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Celtics swipe Game 1 in overtime thriller, best Pacers 133 – 128

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In a tense Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics narrowly escaped with a 133-128 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers, thanks to Jayson Tatum’s 36-point outing and Jaylen Brown’s game-tying three-pointer in the dwindling seconds of regulation.

The Celtics, playing in front of a raucous home crowd at TD Garden, found themselves trailing by five points with just two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. A series of costly turnovers by Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton swung the momentum back in Boston’s favor.

With the game on the line and the clock ticking down, Brown delivered a clutch three-pointer with 6.1 seconds left, sending the game into overtime and igniting the crowd at TD Garden in Boston. Tatum took over in the extra period, scoring 10 of his 36 points to secure the hard-fought win for the Celtics.

Following the game, Haliburton provided a bit of insight into Brown’s big shot in the final seconds of regulation.

“That last play, in the corner, we were going to foul, but the way Jaylen (Brown) caught it, it was like he was going to shoot it right away.” Haliburton said. “So I think Pascal (Siakam) didn’t want to foul him, and I thought that was the right call.”

More: Pacers mangle Knicks in the Garden, advance to Eastern Conference Finals

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the fourth 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)
Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the fourth 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)

Following the matchup, many fans were confused as to why Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle did not call a timeout and prompt the team to intentionally foul. After the game, Carlisle took full responsibility.

“This loss is totally on me,” Carlisle said. “With ten seconds left in regulation, we should have just taken the timeout, advanced the ball and found a way to get it in and make a free throw or two and end the game, but it didn’t happen.”

Additionally, Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday played well, contributing a season-high 28 points and providing a steady presence on defense.

“He is the best defender in the NBA,” Haliburton said. “He has been for a long time.”

Despite their resilience, the Celtics struggled to contain the Pacers’ dynamic duo of Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner, who combined for 47 points and 22 rebounds.

Siakam — who finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists — voiced his frustration with the team’s late-game execution.

“We had our chances to close it out,” Siakam said. “We just have to learn from our mistakes and come back stronger in Game 2.”

More: Indiana Fever show promise in 88-84 loss to Sun

Despite the loss, the Pacers showcased their potential to upset the heavily favored Celtics. Their ability to push the game into overtime and challenge Boston’s star power was a testament to their resilience and determination.

Game 2 of this thrilling Eastern Conference Finals series is set for 8 p.m. on May 24 in Boston. The Pacers look to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss, while the Celtics aim to build on their momentum and take a commanding 2-0 lead.

One thing is certain: this series looks to be a captivating showdown between two talented teams with their sights set on reaching the NBA Finals.


Contact multi-media and senior sports reporter Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on X @3Noral.

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