Jaylen Brown scores 40 points to hand Boston Celtics 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals lead over Indiana Pacers

Jaylen Brown exploded for 40 points as the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 126-110 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Brown’s points haul, which came a day after he was left off the All-NBA team selection, tied his career record in a playoff game and helped the Celtics to take control of the best-of-seven series.

After Boston needed a late three-pointer from Brown to force overtime and then win Game 1, Thursday’s contest was a more one-sided affair with the home team capitalizing on a 20-point scoring run between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second.

The Pacers, meanwhile, were dealt a blow when star player Tyrese Haliburton exited the game in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury, resulting in him missing the entirety of the fourth quarter.

The series now moves from Boston to Indiana for Game 3, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.

Asked about Brown’s omission from the All-NBA teams – a list of the 15 best players in the league chosen by the media – Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters: “I think stuff like that does motivate him, but I know he also really wants to win. He has a growth mindset and wants to get better.”

He added that Brown, who went 14-for-27 from the field against the Pacers, “continues to get better and better” throughout the season.

Brown enjoyed a joint-career-high points haul for a playoff game against the Pacers. - Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images
Brown enjoyed a joint-career-high points haul for a playoff game against the Pacers. - Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

The 27-year-old had a blunter response when asked about not being selected for the All-NBA teams. “I mean, we’re two games from the finals,” he told reporters, “so honestly I haven’t got the time to give a f**k.”

Jayson Tatum had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Celtics, while Derrick White put up 23 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Pascal Siakam top-scored for the Pacers with 28 points, shooting 76.5% from the field, but otherwise it was a challenging night for Indiana, which will be hoping to turn the series around at Gainbridge Fieldhouse over the next two games.

The loss was compounded by the injury to Haliburton.

“We’ll know more [on the status of the injury] tomorrow and then probably even more Saturday,” head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters, adding: “I know you want details, I don’t have much other than it’s sore.”

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