Home Sports NBA playoffs: Jaylen Brown’s clutch 3 stuns Indiana as Celtics rip Game 1 from Pacers in OT

NBA playoffs: Jaylen Brown’s clutch 3 stuns Indiana as Celtics rip Game 1 from Pacers in OT

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Jaylen Brown stunned the Pacers with a late 3-pointer to set up a Celtics comeback in overtime. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Indiana Pacers appeared to have a Game 1 upset on their hands.

Jaylen Brown had other ideas.

The Boston Celtics All-Star stunned the Pacers with a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie Tuesday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at 117-117. The game then went to overtime, where the Celtics prevailed, 133-128, to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The Pacers led 115-110 at the end and appeared to have control of the ball and a 117-114 lead with 10 seconds left in regulation. But they fumbled on a sloppy inbounds pass to breathe new life into the Celtics. Brown made the most of it.

With Pascal Siakam in his face, Brown launched a three-pointer from the left corner that found the back of the net with 5.7 seconds on the clock to clinch the extra session.

There, Jayson Tatum scored 10 points, including a three-pointer with 42.8 seconds left to extend Boston’s lead to 127-123. From there, the Celtics controlled the game that saw dramatic swings for both sides from the first goal of the game. Boston takes the early lead in a series in which it is heavily favored to win.

Indiana leaves with a bitter taste, having wasted a golden opportunity to take a 1-0 lead over the NBA’s best team of the regular season, as the sixth seed in the East. On a night when they shot 53.5% from the field and 37.1% from three, the late turnover that set up Brown’s three-point heroics was the defining play of the night for Indiana.

Indiana had possession of the ball in the defensive zone on an infield play with 10 seconds left. Andrew Nembhard was the infield man and first looked at Tyrese Haliburton on the baseline. With Jrue Holiday choking Haliburton, Nembhard then looked at Siakam. But Brown was in close pursuit and made a play on Nembhard’s soft pass. The ball bounced off Siakam’s hands out of bounds to set up Brown’s game-tying 3-pointer.

The turnover was one of 21 by Indiana on a night when its offense was stellar. But the concessions ultimately cost the Pacers the game. They turned the ball over three more times in overtime, including two in the final 1:02.

The game got off to an ominous start for the Pacers, who found themselves in a 12-0 hole less than 3 minutes into the first quarter. But Indiana’s league-best offense rallied to tie the game 64-64 at halftime thanks in part to a Haliburton 3-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter.

The decisive 3-pointer was one of several by Haliburton, who shot 6 of 14 from long range and had 25 points, 10 assists and three steals. He hit another early in the third quarter to give Indiana a 69-64 lead.

But the Celtics fought back with a 13-0 run later in the quarter to take an 87-75 lead. The Pacers committed three turnovers during Boston’s run. But they did not weaken.

They responded with an 18-7 run of their own capped by another Haliburton 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to cut Boston’s lead to 94-93.

The final quarter was tense until the fateful final seconds finally secured the extra session. Haliburton answered with another three to start overtime, but Boston ultimately prevailed after taking the lead for good on a Tatum free throw at 124-123 with 1:12 left.

The Celtics matched the Pacers’ offense with great performances from the entire starting lineup. Tatum scored a game-high 36 points, including 10 in overtime, along with 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Jrue Holiday scored a season-high 28 points to go along with eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

Jaylen Brown stunned the Pacers with a late 3-pointer to set up a Celtics comeback in overtime. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brown made just one of his four 3-pointers that night. But it was a big one. And he was otherwise successful, scoring 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. The Celtics shot 46.5% from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range and built a significant lead at the free throw line. Boston was 24 of 30 from the line, while Indiana made 9 shots on just 10 free throw attempts.

For Indiana, Siakam had 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Myles Turner had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while shooting 9 of 13 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Every Pacers starter except Nembhard (1) fumbled at least twice. Aaron Nesmith committed five turnovers while Turner recorded four.

The Celtics secured the victory 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 be ready to return in Game 4 against the Pacers.

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