NBA Conference Finals

Title or bust: Mighty Celtics complete sweep of hobbled Pacers, punch ticket to NBA finals


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Title or bust: Mighty Celtics complete sweep of hobbled Pacers, punch ticket to NBA finals

FINALS-BOUND. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball against Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin (1) during the third quarter of game three of the eastern conference finals in the 2024 NBA playoffs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The loaded Boston Celtics make quick work of the injury-plagued Indiana Pacers, cruising to a four-game Eastern Conference finals sweep to reach their second NBA finals in 3 years

Derrick White drained a tiebreaking corner 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in regulation and the Boston Celtics finished off a four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals with a 105-102 victory on Monday night (Tuesday, May 28, Manila time) at Indianapolis.

Jaylen Brown scored 29 points and Jayson Tatum added 26 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists as the top-seeded Celtics landed a spot in the NBA Finals for the second time in the past three seasons.

Andrew Nembhard had 24 points and a playoff career-high 10 assists for the sixth-seeded Pacers.

Boston overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth-quarter while once again playing better basketball down the stretch.

A defensive breakdown by the Pacers left White standing alone in the right corner on the decisive shot. Brown, who was named the MVP of the series, spotted him and got him the ball, and White’s shot swished through the net.

Nembhard missed a 3-pointer with 33.6 seconds left and Tatum got the rebound. Indiana decided not to foul, and Tatum missed a 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds remaining. But Jrue Holiday collected the offensive rebound with 4.7 seconds left, and the Celtics ran out the clock.

It was Boston’s second straight comeback win in Indianapolis. The Celtics overcame an eight-point deficit with 2:38 left in Game 3 to post a 114-111 victory.

Holiday had 17 points and nine rebounds on Monday and White added 16 points, five steals and three blocked shots for the Celtics, who will face either the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves in the Finals.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 10 rebounds and T.J. McConnell added 15 points for Indiana. Aaron Nesmith scored 14 points and Obi Toppin added 12.

Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) missed his second straight game.

The Celtics shot 44.9 percent from the field, including 14 of 44 from 3-point range.

Indiana made 46 percent of its shot attempts and was 10 of 29 from behind the arc.

McConnell scored six points in 64 seconds early in the fourth quarter to give the Pacers an 89-82 lead. A three-point play by Nembhard made it 94-85 with 8:57 remaining.

After Boston moved within four, Nesmith made back-to-back baskets to give Indiana a 98-90 lead with 5:56 to go.

The Celtics answered with an 8-2 run, moving within 100-98 on Holiday’s three-point play with 3:54 remaining.

Brown’s runner tied the score at 102 with 2:40 left.

Tatum scored 16 points before halftime as Boston led 58-57 at the break. Nembhard also tallied 16 points in the first half.

The Pacers took an 83-80 advantage into the final stanza. –

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