The Celtics Finished Their Sweep Of The Pacers To Move On To The NBA Finals

The Boston Celtics are on their way to the NBA Finals. Despite yet another spirited effort while Tyrese Haliburton watched on the sideline with an injury, the Indiana Pacers were unable to pick up a win on their home floor to elongate the Eastern Conference Finals, and as a result, Boston completed a sweep with a 105-102 win.

For the second game in a row, despite being undermanned due to Haliburton’s injury, the Pacers did not back down in the first half. While they were not able to open up the sort of double-digit lead that they had at halftime in Game 3, Indiana always had an answer when Boston looked like it was positioning itself to go on a run — the first half saw five ties and 13 lead changes.

The play of Andrew Nembhard, who was once again terrific, and Pascal Siakam carried the Pacers, as the former had 16 points in the first half and the latter had 13. T.J. McConnell, as he’s done all postseason, was excellent off the bench, going for eight points in nine minutes.

But the problem was Jayson Tatum brought his A-game. Tatum had his fingerprints all over the game, as went into the locker room with 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Thanks to that, along with 10 points each from Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown, Boston held a 58-57 edge at halftime.

The third quarter was defined by Boston going cold from the field. The team went 1-for-10 from behind the three-point line, with their only made triple coming at the very end of the period. In all, the Celtics only scored 22 points in the third, their lowest-scoring quarter of the entire series.

While they did not run up the score, Indiana was able to take advantage of this by leading for nearly the entire quarter. The lead got up to as many as six points, and while the Celtics never quite let them open up a lead, the Pacers were able to take an 83-80 lead into the fourth.

Indiana continued to build out its lead to start the fourth quarter, getting it up to as many as nine points. But with a little less than seven and a half minutes left, the team saw its spark plug head to the locker room, as Brown caught McConnell after the Pacers guard reeled in an offensive rebound. While he had to go to the locker room, there was no flagrant foul assessed to Brown on the play.

McConnell was able to return to the game, and by the time he returned with just under four minutes to go, Boston had gotten the lead down to two. And eventually, after a dunk by Tatum and a floater by Brown, the Celtics tied things up at 102 each with 2:40 to go in the game.

And then, both teams went cold, as there were six consecutive possessions with a miss or a turnover before someone decided to call a timeout. Out of the break, Brown denied Nembhard as he went up for a layup, and on the ensuing possession, he got the ball into the hands of White in the corner, who drilled a three.

Nembhard missed his effort to tie the game from three, and after a foul, the Pacers opted to try and play out a possession before trying to force overtime. The plan looked like it was going to work, as Tatum bricked a three with eight seconds left, but Holiday beat Aaron Nesmith to a rebound, and Indiana was unable to foul before the clock hit zero.

The Jays led the way on the night for Boston, with Brown putting up 29 points and Tatum going for 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Holiday had 17 points and nine rebounds, while White did a little bit of everything with 16 points, five steals, four assists, four rebounds, and three blocks. Nembhard had 24 points and 10 assists for Indiana, while Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds. McConnell (15 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Toppin (12 points, seven boards) gave them good contributions off the bench.

Boston will now wait to see if the Dallas Mavericks can finish off their sweep in the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. Regardless of what happens in that series, the Celtics will not play again until June 6, when the NBA Finals begin.