Thursday, February 23, 2023

Celtics 142, Pacers 138 [OT]: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown combine for 61 points in overtime win

The Celtics picked up where they left off prior to the All-Star break with a 142-138 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers Thursday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

This past weekend's All-Star Game MVP Jayson Tatum finished with 31 points (9-of-25 from the field), 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Jaylen Brown had 30 points (11-of-24 from the floor, 3-of-5 from 3-point territory) and 11 rebounds to help the Celtics improve to a league leading record of 43-17.
"It had a playoff-like atmosphere, we had to withstand some runs, we had to adjust, we had to execute and make plays," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said to reporters postgame. "I liked the fact we had to go through that. You have to win games like that and you have to be in games like that."
Malcolm Brogdon added 24 points, seven assists off the bench against his former team, Derrick White scored 17 points and Marcus Smart chipped in 15 points, five rebounds for the C's -- who have won eight of their last 10 games.

Myles Turner tied a career-high with 40 points, including going 8-of-10 (career-best) from deep to go along with 10 rebounds for Indiana. Tyrese Haliburton notched 22 points, 14 assists, Bennedict Mathurin had 19 points off the bench and Buddy Hield netted 18 points for the Pacers -- who fell to 26-35 on the season.

The Celtics were ahead 68-58 at the half, before Indiana used a 13-2 run to open the third quarter and take a 71-70 lead on a Hield dunk. After 13 lead changes, Boston took a 100-97 advantage heading into the final frame.

The Pacers trailing by as many as nine following a Sam Hauser 23-footer with 9:09 left in regulation, went on a 9-0 spurt. Five ties and seven lead changes later, Haliburton hit two free-throws to knot it up at 125 with 1:41 remaining in the fourth and both teams failed to score the rest of period to force overtime.

Indy grabbed a 130-125 lead in the first 41 seconds of OT, before the C's responded with eight unanswered points. Turner's eighth 3-pointer of the night stopped the bleeding and evened the game at 133 with 2:59 left on the game clock.
"It was fun," Brown said in his postgame presser. "The more we are tested in those moments, I think it helps for the long run."
With it all tied up again at 138 in the final 56 seconds, Tatum sealed the victory by sinking two timely free throws and a put-back off the glass to make it a two possession game with 10.1 seconds left to play.
"I'm glad we won," said Tatum in during his postgame comments. "I just tried to find ways to make plays on both ends so we could win and everybody could feel better about themselves."
The Celtics continue their three-game mini road-trip when they face the 76ers (39-19) in Philadelphia Saturday night. ABC will have the tip-off at 8:30 ET.

Game Notes:

Boston was 51.5% from the field, including 18-of-39 (46.2%) from 3-point range, while the Pacers were 52.1% from the floor and 22-of-49 (44.9%) from long-distance. The Celtics won the battle of the boards 51-37 (20-10 on the offensive glass) and outscored Indiana in the paint 60-44. The C's dished out 31 assists on 51 baskets to Indy's 33 dimes on 49 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

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