June 25, 2024

The Boston Celtics clinched the Eastern Conference championship on Monday with a narrow 105-102 victory over the Indiana Pacers, completing a 4-0 series sweep and securing their place in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics will face the winner of the Western Conference Finals, where the Dallas Mavericks currently lead 3-0 over the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Game Four set for Tuesday.

In their victory in Indianapolis, the Celtics achieved their seventh consecutive postseason win, though they faced a tough challenge against a Pacers team missing their injured star guard, Tyrese Haliburton.

Jaylen Brown was instrumental once again, tying the game at 102-102 with a step-through basket with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter. He then made a crucial block on Andrew Nembhard at the rim. With 45 seconds remaining, Brown assisted Derrick White, who nailed a three-point jumper from the corner to clinch the game and the series.

Nembhard, who tallied 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds for the Pacers, missed a three-pointer with 33 seconds left that would have tied the game.

Brown led the Celtics with 29 points, while Jayson Tatum added 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. The Celtics are returning to the finals two years after their loss to the Golden State Warriors, aiming for their first NBA title since 2008.

“It’s been nothing but a grind; we haven’t skipped any steps all season,” said Brown, who was named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP after averaging almost 30 points per game in the series. “We’ve got a bunch of great guys in this locker room, tough guys. Our coaching staff has been great, front office great, and now we want to take the next step,” he added.

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