The Celtics recover late and bring the Pacers to the brink of elimination in the NBA playoffs | basketball news

A combined 60 points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown helped Boston steal Game 3 on the road in Indianapolis.

The Boston Celtics, fueled by Jayson Tatum’s 36 points, erased an 18-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 114-111 and take a 3-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

Tatum added 10 rebounds and eight assists, Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and the Celtics found a way to stop Indiana’s high-octane offense in the second half to snatch victory in Indianapolis, where they will try to close the series on Monday.

“The final games are the hardest,” Tatum said after Saturday’s game, warning that the Celtics can’t afford to relax even though no NBA team has come back from 0-3 down to win a series. of playoffs.

Indiana, which was undefeated in six previous home games this postseason, came out determined to avoid the 0-3 hole despite the absence of All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who aggravated the left hamstring strain that was troubling him this season. season in Game 2.

Andrew Nembhard, taking over at point guard, scored 32 points and dished out nine assists and Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner each scored 22 for the Pacers, who extended their lead to 18 in the second quarter and again in the third.

But a three-point play by Jrue Holiday, who was fouled on a layup and made the free throw, put the Celtics up 112-111 with 38.9 seconds left.

It was their first lead since the early moments of the second quarter and they took it, Holiday making a clutch steal on Nembhard and making a pair of free throws to seal it.

Despite Haliburton’s absence, the Pacers got their offense going and erased an early nine-point deficit, exploding in the second quarter to build their first 18-point lead of the contest.

Nembhard scored 17 points in the second quarter and the Pacers connected on 15 of their 22 shot attempts to outscore the Celtics.

With 21 points at halftime, Nembhard had already surpassed his career playoff record.

He hit a long 3-pointer with less than five seconds left in the first half to give the Pacers a 69-57 halftime lead.

Indiana led again by 18 midway through the third, but Boston attacked on defense and caught them.

It remains to be seen if Haliburton will be available for Game 4 on Monday.

“It was determined that tonight was not an option,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said before the game, saying Haliburton would be re-evaluated before Game 4.

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