Jaylen Brown’s Heroics Lift Celtics Over Pacers in Overtime

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers seemed poised to pull off an upset in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, but Jaylen Brown had other plans.

The Boston Celtics All-Star sank a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie Tuesday’s game at 117, forcing overtime. The Celtics then outlasted the Pacers, 133-128, to take a 1-0 series lead.

Indiana led 115-110 late in the fourth quarter and appeared to be in control with a 117-114 advantage and the ball with 10 seconds left. However, a critical turnover on a sloppy inbounds pass gave new life to the Celtics. Brown capitalized on the opportunity.

With Pascal Siakam guarding him, Brown launched a 3-pointer from the left corner, finding the bottom of the net with 5.7 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra session, Jayson Tatum scored 10 points, including a 3-pointer with 42.8 seconds remaining to extend Boston’s lead to 127-123. From there, the Celtics maintained control, securing a victory in a game marked by dramatic swings for both teams.

**Turnovers Prove Costly for Pacers**

Indiana left the court with a bitter taste, having squandered a prime opportunity to take a 1-0 advantage over the NBA’s best regular-season team as the No. 6 seed in the East. Despite shooting 53.5% from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc, the late turnover that set up Brown’s heroics defined the night.

With 10 seconds remaining, Indiana had possession in the backcourt. Andrew Nembhard was the inbound passer and initially looked to Tyrese Haliburton on the baseline. With Jrue Holiday smothering Haliburton, Nembhard then targeted a cutting Siakam. But Brown, in close pursuit, made a play on Nembhard’s soft pass. The ball bounced off Siakam’s hands and out of bounds, setting up Brown’s game-tying shot.

The turnover was one of 21 for Indiana, whose otherwise stellar offense was undermined by the giveaways. The Pacers committed three more turnovers in overtime, including two in the final 1:02.

**Haliburton’s Heroics Not Enough**

The game began ominously for the Pacers, who found themselves in a 12-0 hole less than three minutes into the first quarter. But Indiana’s league-best offense bounced back, tying the game at 64 by halftime, thanks in part to a logo 3-pointer from Haliburton in the final seconds of the second quarter.

Haliburton shot 6-of-14 from long distance, tallying 25 points, 10 assists, and three steals. He hit another 3-pointer early in the third quarter, giving Indiana a 69-64 advantage.

The Celtics responded with a 13-0 run later in the quarter, taking an 87-75 lead. Indiana committed three turnovers during Boston’s surge but mounted a comeback. An 18-7 run, capped by another Haliburton 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer, cut Boston’s lead to 94-93.

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, leading to the pivotal final seconds that forced overtime. Haliburton opened the overtime scoring with another 3-pointer, but Boston ultimately prevailed, taking the lead for good on a Tatum free throw at 124-123 with 1:12 remaining.

**Boston’s Stars Shine**

The Celtics matched Indiana’s offensive output with strong performances from across their starting lineup. Tatum recorded a game-high 36 points, including 10 in overtime, along with 12 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Jrue Holiday added a season-high 28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.

Brown, despite hitting just one of his four 3-point attempts, was crucial with his game-tying shot and overall contribution of 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The Celtics shot 46.5% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc, and they secured a significant advantage at the free-throw line, hitting 24 of 30 attempts compared to Indiana’s nine made free throws on 10 attempts.

For Indiana, Siakam posted 24 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Myles Turner added 23 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Every Pacers starter except Nembhard (1) committed at least two turnovers, with Aaron Nesmith turning the ball over five times and Turner four.

The Celtics secured the win without starting forward Kristaps Porzingis, who has been sidelined with a calf injury since Boston’s first-round series against the Miami Heat. He could reportedly return by Game 4 against the Pacers.

Boston now holds an early advantage in a series it’s heavily favored to win, while Indiana will need to regroup quickly to avoid falling further behind.

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