NBA Playoffs 2023-24: Celtics Dominate Pacers to Claim 3-0 Lead in Eastern Conference Finals

NBA Playoffs 2023-24: the Boston Celtics triumphed over the Indiana Pacers with a thrilling 114-111 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals held in Indianapolis in an electrifying showdown on Saturday night.

Jayson Tatum emerged as a dominant force, recording a stellar performance with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, propelling the Celtics to a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

NBA Playoffs 2023-24: Celtics Dominate Pacers to Claim 3-0 Lead in Eastern Conference Finals

As time ran out, Aaron Nesmith of Indiana had a three-point shot bounce off the rim.

For the sixth-seeded Pacers, Andrew Nembhard recorded a career-high 32 points and added nine assists. Indiana, which had not won at home in seven postseason games, was led by T.J. McConnell with 23 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, Myles Turner with 22 points and ten rebounds, and Pascal Siakam with 22 points.

Tyrese Haliburton, an All-NBA Third Team pick, was out for Game 2 due to a left hamstring injury. Due to an illness, Holiday wasn’t cleared to play until around 45 minutes before tipoff. His final stats were nine rebounds, three steals, and fourteen points.

Monday is Game 4 against Indianapolis. With 1:12 remaining, Horford made a three-pointer to cut the Boston lead to five points, and with 38.9 seconds remaining, Holiday completed his game-winning three-point play to give the Celtics a 112-111 lead.

Later on, the Pacers decided against taking a timeout in search of the game-winning shot. With 3.3 seconds left, Holiday forced the ball away from Nembhard while he was handling it. With 1.7 seconds remaining, Holiday converted two free throws after being fouled.

Also Read: NBA Roundup: Jaylen Brown Shines with 40 Points as Celtics Secure 2-0 Series Lead Against Pacers

The Celtics, who shot 47% from the field and made 16 of 46 3-pointers, were led by Derrick White, who finished with 13 points.
Indiana was a porous 5 of 22 from 3-point range and shot 50.5 percent from the field. In the second half, the Pacers’ overall shooting percentage was only 38.3%.

Midway through the third quarter, Boston was down 18, but with 8:31 left in the game, Horford’s 3-pointer pulled them within 93-90.

Nembhard and McConnell responded with baskets to increase the lead to seven. With 2:38 remaining, McConnell made a driving layup to give Indiana a 109-101 lead. However, the Celtics answered with a 13-2 run that ended the game.

The second quarter saw Nembhard score 17 of his 21 points in the first half, giving the Pacers a 69-57 lead at the intermission. In the first half, Indiana shot a scorching 63.6 percent from the field.

Before the half, Siakam and Turner led the Pacers in scoring with 15 points apiece. Tatum led Boston with 20 points through the opening two quarters.

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