How Celtics Achieved Stunning Game 1 Overtime Win Over Pacers

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, NBA News, Indiana Pacers
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum led the Boston Celtics to a dramatic 133-128 overtime victory against the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals during Tuesday’s NBA playoff action, scoring 36 points, including 10 crucial points in the extra period.

Jrue Holiday contributed a season-high 28 points, while Brown finished with 26 points for the Celtics. Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night in Boston. Brown’s clutch 3-pointer sent the game into overtime with just 6.1 seconds left in regulation.

“Welcome to the NBA playoffs. You’ve just got to manage your emotions. Anything can happen,” Brown said of his tying 3. “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.”

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Tyrese Haliburton delivered an impressive performance for the Pacers with 25 points and 10 assists. Indiana relied on perimeter shooting, hitting 13 3-pointers and scoring 56 points in the paint against a Celtics team missing their injured 7-footer, Kristaps Porzingis.

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

Pascal Siakam added 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Myles Turner contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Pacers. However, Indiana’s turnovers proved costly, especially in the final moments of regulation.

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With a 3-point lead in the final 30 seconds, the Pacers turned the ball twice. Brown capitalized on the second turnover by sinking a corner 3-pointer over Siakam, tying the game at 117 and forcing overtime.

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

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle took responsibility for the loss, saying it was “totally on me” for not calling a timeout to advance the ball before the turnover that led to Brown’s game-tying shot.

Reflecting on Indiana’s 21 turnovers, Haliburton acknowledged 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 improved to 2-2 when their opponent scores 100 or more points. Holiday highlighted the team’s resilience, stating, “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.”

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In overtime, Haliburton put Indiana ahead 123-121 by making all three free throws after being fouled with 1:46 remaining. Tatum responded with a layup and a free throw, putting Boston ahead for good.

After another turnover by Haliburton, Tatum hit a pivotal 3-pointer, making it 127-123 with 43 seconds left. Derrick White and Siakam then exchanged layups, and Holiday sealed the victory with two free throws, extending Boston’s lead to 131-125.

“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 bounce back.”

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