Boston Celtics reach the NBA Finals with victory over Indiana Pacers | basketball news

The Celtics, who will play either Dallas or Minnesota in the finals, will try to win their first NBA title since 2008.

The Boston Celtics clinched the Eastern Conference championship with a 105-102 victory over the Indiana Pacers, sweeping the series 4-0 and booking a spot in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics will face the winner of the Western Conference Finals, where the Dallas Mavericks hold a 3-0 lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves heading into Game 4 on Tuesday.

The Celtics’ victory in Indianapolis on Monday was their seventh straight in the postseason, but they left it late against a Pacers team again without injured star guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Jaylen Brown once again proved decisive.

He stepped up to tie it at 102-102 with 2:40 left in the quarter, then rose magnificently to block Andrew Nembhard at the rim.

With 45 seconds left, Brown found Derrick White in the corner, who hit the three-pointer that ultimately clinched the game and the series.

Nembhard, who had 24 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Pacers, missed a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left that would have tied the game.

Brown led Boston’s scoring with 29 points and Jayson Tatum had 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

The Celtics return to the Finals two years after losing to the Golden State Warriors as they seek their first NBA title since 2008.

“It’s been nothing but an effort, we haven’t skipped a step all season,” said Brown, named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Eastern Conference Finals after averaging almost 30 points throughout the series. .

“We have a lot of great guys in this locker room, tough guys. “Our coaching staff has been fantastic, the board has been great and now we want to take the next step,” he added.

Boston has gone 12-2 throughout the postseason, beating the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Pacers to reach its 23rd NBA Finals in franchise history.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla paid tribute to his team.

“Look at all the talent, look at the players we have. It’s really about them, they let us train them. They allow us to put pressure on them, they listen to us and set the temperature of the organization every day,” he stated.

“As a coach, the best gift you can have is a group of guys who trust you and allow you to coach them,” he added.

It was the third time in the four-game series that Indiana lost after holding a lead or tying it in the final minute of a game.

The Pacers led by nine with 8:28 left in the quarter, but without the influential Haliburton they couldn’t finish the game.

“An incredible season, a magical season. The level of fighting was tremendous throughout all of this,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said.

“Circumstances never fazed them one way or another.

“They were in this to win every possession they could and any game they could, so they have a lot of respect for our players and how they conducted themselves in this series,” he said.

“This year many things have been achieved. Expectations will be raised for next year, which is good,” Carlisle added.

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