Celtics close in on NBA finals

Agence France-Presse
Celtics close in on NBA finals
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MAY 25: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates a three point basket against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on May 25, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Stacy Revere / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES — The Boston Celtics, fueled by 36 points from Jayson Tatum, erased an 18-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 114-111 on Saturday and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

Tatum added 10 rebounds and eight assists, Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Al Horford made seven three-pointers on the way to 23 points.

But the shift came when the Celtics found a way to slow down Indiana’s high-octane offense in the second half to snatch the win in Indianapolis, where they’ll try to close out the series on Monday.

“Closeout games are the hardest,” Tatum said, cautioning that the Celtics can’t afford to relax despite the fact that no NBA team has rallied from 0-3 down to win a playoff series.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle certainly wasn’t ready to wave the white flag.

“We’re going to be undeterred, we’re going to be back here Monday night looking to extend the series and we’re going to come at them even harder,” vowed Carlisle.

Indiana, unbeaten in six prior home games this post-season, came out determined to avoid the 0-3 hole despite the absence of All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who aggravated the left hamstring strain that troubled him this season in Game 2.

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