Takeaways between Celtics and Pacers: Tatum drives thrilling Game 3 win

Takeaways between Celtics and Pacers: Tatum drives thrilling Game 3 win Originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics are one win away from the NBA Finals after a thrilling win over the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

After leading by nine points early, Boston struggled defensively and found itself down by 18 points during a dismal second quarter. Indiana shot 63.6 percent from the floor in the first half, including 69.4 percent from two-pointers.

The second half was a different story. The C’s held the Pacers to 18 of 47 (38.3 percent) shooting in the second half and cut their deficit. They finally regained the lead late in the fourth quarter, and Jrue Holiday preserved it with a clutch steal in the final seconds of the game:

That play sealed the 114-111 win to give Boston a commanding 3-0 lead.

The Celtics remain unbeaten on the road (5-0) in the 2024 playoffs. This was the Pacers’ first loss at home this season (7-1).

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points, a high for Boston. All five starters scored in double figures, including Jaylen Brown (24 points) and Al Horford (23 points).

Andrew Nembhard filled in for him Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton injured A team-high 32 points fell in a losing effort. Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner added 22 points each.

The Celtics will look to complete their sweep and advance to the NBA Finals on Monday. Tip-off for Game 4 is set for 8pm ET in Indiana, and coverage begins at 7pm Celtics Pregame Live Here on NBC Sports Boston.

See also  Carlos Alcaraz defeats Casper Ruud in the US Open final to win his first Grand Slam at the age of 19 | 2022 US Open Tennis

Here are three takeaways from Boston’s Game 3 win.

Huge bounce back night for Jayson Tatum

Tatum’s critics have been vocal throughout the postseason, but they were silenced Saturday night.

The five-time All-Star was the best player on the floor in Game 3. And he wasted little time in making his presence felt, dropping 15 points in the first quarter — the second-most in a quarter of his playoff career, after losing. 16-point game in Game 4 against Cleveland. He finished the first half with 20 points on efficient 8-of-14 shooting.

Tatum kept his foot on the gas in the second half, finishing with 36 points including these 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter:

His stat line — 36 points (12-23 FG, 5-10 3-PT), 10 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks, one steal, and no turnovers — was historic. He now has five career playoff games with at least 35 points and 10 rebounds, which places him Second in Celtics history Behind the legendary Larry Bird (10).

Tatum also became the first player in NBA history to record 36 points, 10 boards, eight assists and five 3-pointers without a turnover. Per StatMuse.

Al Horford shoots the lights

As great as Tatum is, the Celtics don’t win Game 3 without Horford.

While Derrick White and Jrue Holiday struggled offensively, the veteran big man stepped up and had one of his great nights from beyond the arc. He was a ridiculous 7-for-12 from deep and finished with 23 points in 34 minutes.

Horford’s biggest 3 plays came late in the 4th quarter. His shot cut the deficit to two points with just over a minute left in the game:

See also  2024 NCAA Men's Tournament scores, games and updates: Follow the March Madness action live stream on Friday

Horford also had five rebounds, three blocks and a steal. The 37-year-old is the oldest player in NBA history to make seven 3-pointers in a playoff game.

A tale of two halves for the C defense

The Celtics were without two of their top frontcourt options in Game 3 — Kristaps Porzingis (calf) and Luke Kornet (wrist) — and it showed throughout the first half.

Indiana was relentless in the paint against Horford and the rest of Boston’s young lineup. All of the home team’s 31 points in the first quarter came either from the paint or from the free throw line.

This trend continued in the second quarter. The Pacers finished the first half going 21 of 30 for 42 points, just two shy of the NBA playoff high set by Dallas in Game 1 against Minnesota.

Then the switch flipped.

Indiana shot just 38.3 percent from the floor in the second half, scoring just 42 points over the final two frames after being held to 69 points in the first half.

The Celtics’ defense was shut down late, and Holiday’s late steal topped off the transition perfectly on that end of the floor. For this reason, Boston will have a chance to punch a ticket to the finals on Monday night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *