NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Celtics Throttle Pacers in Game 2, Brown Erupts

nba playoffs game 2 celtics pacers
Photo Courtesy of The Boston Globe

The Boston Celtics bounced back from their trend of losing Game 2 in the playoffs, crushing the Indiana Pacers 126-110 behind a scorching performance from Jaylen Brown, taking 2-0 series lead in their 2024 Eastern Conference Finals.

NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Brown Ignites

  • Brown exploded for a career-high 40 points, spearheading the Celtics’ offensive attack.
  • He silenced doubters with his dominant play, dropping 10 points during a pivotal 20-0 run that turned the tide in Boston’s favor.

Brown’s offensive repertoire was on full display. He attacked the rim with ferocity, converting layups and drawing fouls to get to the free-throw line. His mid-range game was on point, pulling up for jumpers with a smooth release.

He even showcased his improved three-point shooting, knocking down key shots from beyond the arc. This versatility kept the Pacers’ defense guessing all night, unable to contain his scoring outbursts.

Brown wasn’t just a scorer; he was a catalyst. During a pivotal 20-0 run that swung the game in Boston’s favor, Brown dropped 10 points. He spearheaded the run with aggressive drives, finding open teammates for easy baskets, and displaying his clutch ability by converting difficult shots under pressure.

NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Balanced Celtics Effort

  • Jayson Tatum and Derrick White provided crucial support, chipping in 23 points apiece.
  • Jrue Holiday delivered a well-rounded performance with 15 points and 10 assists.
  • Unlike previous series, the Celtics never relinquished control after their first-quarter comeback.

While Brown led the charge, the Celtics received crucial support from their fellow stars. Jayson Tatum and Derrick White provided consistent scoring with 23 points each, exhibiting Boston’s offensive depth.

Veteran guard Jrue Holiday delivered a well-rounded performance, contributing 15 points and 10 assists, showcasing his ability to both score and orchestrate plays.

Unlike their previous series where they stumbled in Game 2, the Celtics maintained control throughout. Their early first-quarter comeback set the tone for a dominant performance.

Several factors contributed to the Celtics’ ability to maintain control after their first-quarter comeback:

  • Sustained Defensive Intensity: The Celtics’ defense remained disciplined and aggressive throughout the game. They contested shots effectively, limited Indiana’s easy scoring opportunities, and forced turnovers that fueled their offense. This defensive pressure prevented the Pacers from mounting any serious comeback attempts.
  • Balanced Offensive Attack: While Jaylen Brown led the scoring charge, the Celtics received crucial contributions from multiple players. Jayson Tatum and Derrick White provided consistent scoring threats, and Jrue Holiday orchestrated the offense with his playmaking ability. This offensive diversity kept the Pacers’ defense guessing and prevented them from focusing solely on Brown.
  • Composure Under Pressure: In previous close games, the Celtics sometimes struggled down the stretch. However, in this game, they displayed remarkable composure. They executed their plays effectively in clutch situations, hit key free throws, and maintained their defensive intensity. This mental toughness proved crucial in securing the victory.

NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Pacers Struggle with Haliburton Injury

  • Indiana’s leading scorer from Game 1, Tyrese Haliburton, exited the game early with a left hamstring injury.
  • The Pacers’ offense sputtered in his absence, missing a string of shots and committing turnovers during Boston’s decisive run.
  • Pascal Siakam kept Indiana afloat with 28 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Celtics’ offensive onslaught.

While the Celtics deserve credit for their performance, the Pacers also played a role in their own demise.

  • Turnovers Prove Costly: Indiana committed a number of unforced turnovers throughout the game, particularly during Boston’s decisive first-quarter comeback. These turnovers gave the Celtics easy scoring opportunities and disrupted the Pacers’ offensive rhythm.
  • Struggles Without Haliburton: The loss of Tyrese Haliburton in the third quarter with a hamstring injury significantly impacted the Pacers’ offense. His playmaking ability and scoring prowess were sorely missed, and Indiana struggled to find consistent scoring outside of Pascal Siakam.

Haliburton’s Recurring Hamstring Woes

This isn’t the first time Haliburton’s hamstring has sidelined him. Back in early January, he suffered a similar injury during a game against the very same Celtics.

That setback forced him to miss 10 games and hampered him with a minutes restriction upon his return. The recurrence of this injury couldn’t come at a worse time for the Pacers, especially considering the pivotal role he plays in their offense.

The Impact of Haliburton’s Absence

Haliburton’s impact extends far beyond his scoring ability. He is the Pacers’ primary playmaker, averaging 10 assists per game in the playoffs. As veteran guard T.J. McConnell acknowledges, replicating Haliburton’s production will be a tall order. The onus now falls on McConnell and Andrew Nembhard to shoulder the playmaking responsibilities.

Increased Difficulty for Pacers

The Pacers already faced an uphill battle against the Celtics. Now, without Haliburton’s leadership and playmaking, their task becomes even more daunting. McConnell emphasizes the need for a collective effort, with improved ball movement and increased penetration into the paint being crucial areas of focus.

NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Brown’s Leadership Earns Praise

  • Celtics teammate Jrue Holiday lauded Brown’s leadership and scoring prowess.
  • Brown’s unwavering focus on winning and ability to take charge were highlighted as key factors in Boston’s victory.

Brown’s leadership was not lost on his teammates. Celtics veteran Jrue Holiday lauded Brown’s leadership and scoring prowess.

Highlighting Brown’s unwavering focus on winning and ability to take charge were pinpointed as key factors in Boston’s victory.

This praise from a respected teammate speaks volumes about Brown’s growing leadership role on the Celtics.

This dominant performance by Brown and the Celtics sends a warning shot to the Pacers. The series is far from over, and Indiana will need to adjust without Haliburton if they hope to protect their home court.

NBA PLAYOFFS GAME 2 CELTICS PACERS – Series Heads to Indiana with Questions

  • Despite the loss, the Pacers return home boasting an 11-game winning streak at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
  • Coach Rick Carlisle emphasized the need for a “next man up” mentality to compensate for Haliburton’s absence.
  • The series is 2-0 for the Celtics, but the Game 3 and 4 will be played in Indiana’s homecourt which they have won 11 straight.

The series now shifts to Indiana, where the Pacers boast an impressive 11-game winning streak at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This winning streak could provide a much-needed boost in front of their home crowd.

However, Coach Rick Carlisle faces a challenge. He must implement a “next man up” mentality to compensate for Haliburton’s absence. Finding a way to replace his production will be crucial for Indiana’s success. The series is now wide open.

Both teams head back to Indiana with the Pacers facing a 0-2 series deficit , and the fight for home-court advantage in Games 3 and 4 intensifies.

Brown’s leadership and dominant performance have sent a clear message to the Pacers: the Celtics are a force to be reckoned with. The series is far from over, and Indiana will need to make significant adjustments if they hope to steal a win on their home court.

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