NBA Conference Finals

Big 40: Jaylen Brown on fire, powers Celtics to 2-0 lead over Pacers


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Big 40: Jaylen Brown on fire, powers Celtics to 2-0 lead over Pacers

HOT HAND. Celtics guard Jaylen Brown dribbles the ball against Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton in Game 2 of the East finals.

David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Although up 2-0 in the East conference finals, the Celtics keep in mind that the Pacers stormed back from the same series deficit to win in Game 7 of the semifinals

Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 40 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 126-110 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday, May 23 (Friday, May 24, Manila time).

Brown was 14-of-27 from the floor and made 8-of-11 free throws. He added 5 rebounds. 

Boston had a 13-point lead after three quarters and the Pacers were never closer than 11 points in the fourth.

The victory gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which will shift to Indianapolis for Game 3 on Saturday, May 25.

The Celtics won Game 1, 133-128, in overtime.

“I think we adjusted a little bit better in Game 2,” Brown said. “I still think we can play a little better, so we’re looking forward to doing that in Game 3.”

The Pacers are unsure whether point guard Tyrese Haliburton will be available for that game. He left with left leg soreness in the third quarter Thursday. He collected 10 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes. 

Haliburton missed 10 games in January with a left hamstring strain.

“Losing Ty for the game obviously is a big blow,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ll know more [by Friday] and even more Saturday… I know you want details. I don’t have much.”

Pascal Siakam made 13-of-17 field goal attempts and led the Pacers with 28 points. Andrew Nembhard added 16 points for Indiana.

Jayson Tatum and Derrick White each scored 23 points for the Celtics. Al Horford had 6 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Brown led all first-half scorers with 24 points. Boston trailed 27-25 after one quarter but held a 57-51 halftime lead.

Boston surged in front thanks to a 20-0 run. The Celtics scored the final 3 points in the first quarter and the first 17 points in the second quarter to take a 42-27 lead. 

Indiana didn’t score in the second quarter until Aaron Nesmith made two free throws with 6:45 remaining in the quarter.

Indiana was within 2 points, 68-66, after Siakam’s three-pointer with 7:55 remaining in the third, but Boston had a 93-80 advantage entering the final 12 minutes.

The Pacers have a 6-0 home record in the playoffs this season. The Celtics are 4-0 on the road.

Indiana also lost the first two games against the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals and then won that series in seven games.

“The only thing we should be thinking about is they were down 2-0 a series ago and they brought it to Game 7 and they do a great job protecting their home court,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. 

“They’re undefeated at home, so it’s going to take a lot more than confidence to get the job done, and we have to focus on the details and the execution… I know they’re going to respond, so it’s up to us to do the same.”

The Celtics’ Luke Kornet left the game in the first quarter with a sprained left wrist and did not return to the court.

Boston center Kristaps Porzingis missed his eighth straight game with a calf strain. –

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