'Resilient' Celtics overcome Pacers in OT, win Game 1 of ECF


May 22 (UPI) -- Jaylen Brown forced overtime with a clutch 3-pointer before Jayson Tatum scored 10 of his 36 points over the final five minutes to lead the Boston Celtics over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals opener.

The Celtics forced 21 turnovers and scored 32 points off the giveaways in the 133-128 triumph Tuesday at TD Garden. Tatum logged 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Guard Jrue Holiday and Brown chipped in 28 and 26 points, respectively. The game featured 10 lead changes.

"We always knew that there's always a chance," Holiday told reporters. "We've seen crazy stuff happen all the time. I don't think that we think we lost the game until we actually lost the game. And that's part of the reason why we were so resilient toward the end of the game.

"Like I said, anything can happen. A couple turnovers, a great shot, great look by [Brown] or on the other end, we make a couple other shots that were wide open and it could be a completely different game. So [we're] just the type of team that's going to keep on fighting no matter how long and no matter what it takes."

The Pacers outshot the Celtics 53.5% to 47.5%. They also held a 30-13 edge in bench points. Star guard Tyrese Haliburton logged 25 points, 10 assists, three rebounds and three steals in the loss. Forward Pascal Siakam and center Myles Turner scored 24 and 23 points, respectively, for the Pacers.

The Celtics went on a 12-0 run off the tip off and carried a 34-31 lead into the second quarter. They continued to hold the lead until the Pacers went on a 10-2 run and tied the score several times. The score was 64-64 at halftime.

The Pacers took their first lead off a 5-0 run to start the second half. The Celtics later responded with a 15-2 run to push their lead back to double digits. The Pacers then outscored their foes 14-2 over the final 2:39 of the third quarter, but still trailed 94-93 to start the fourth.

The Pacers and Celtics exchanged the lead twice over the next few minutes before the Pacers used a 7-0 run to jump ahead once again.

The Celtics trailed 117-114 with 47 seconds remaining. Tatum and Derrick White each missed key shots over the next several seconds before a Pacers turnover set up their final possession of regulation.

Holiday threw an inbound pass from the baseline to start that sequence. Brown caught the feed in the left corner. He did a quick ball fake before launching a fadeaway shot, which fell in the net and tied the score with just 5.7 seconds remaining.

Haliburton missed a 3-pointer on the next possession, sending the game to overtime.

The Pacers guard redeemed himself by making a shot from downtown for the first points of overtime. The Celtics answered with a 12-3 run, which included a string of eight-consecutive points from Tatum, to snatch back momentum for good.

"As long as there is time still on the clock and the game is still in reach, we feel like we have a chance," Brown said. "This core group has been in so many big time games and big time moments. ... We always believe."

The top-seeded Celtics will host the No. 6 Pacers in Game 2 at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday in Boston. Game 3 of the best-of-seven game series will be Saturday in Indianapolis.