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Indiana Pacers Regret Losing to the Boston Celtics in Overtime in Game 1

The Boston Celtics won Game 1 133–128 in overtime, and the Indiana Pacers knew they had blown a chance to take the court on opening night of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Tuesday.

The Pacers led by three points with the ball in the last 10 seconds of regulation, but they let the win slip away with 22 turnovers, including two costly errors in the last 27 seconds.

Aaron Nesmith, a forward for the Pacers, remarked, “We gave it away.” “We should’ve won the game.”

With 27.1 seconds left in regulation, guard Tyrese Haliburton dribbled the ball off his foot, creating an unforced mistake that gave the Pacers a 3-point advantage. But with ten seconds remaining, Indiana regained possession of the ball and had an opportunity to win at the free throw line.

The ball had to be inbound, which was the only problem. When there were only 8.1 seconds left, an inbound ball from Andrew Nembhard to Pascal Siakam went out of bounds, giving Boston another opportunity to tie the game. Jaylen Brown took advantage of the situation by making a 3-pointer in the corner.

“Haliburton stated, “I think it’s on us,” “They’re a great defensive team, they got great defenders, individual and team defenders, but they’re not a team who forces a ton of turnovers. I just felt like more of them were on us than them. We got to clean that up.”

Before Brown’s game-winning 3-pointer, which Siakam claimed was his objective on the play, the Pacers also missed a foul opportunity. However, Siakam chose not to risk fouling a shooter and giving up a four-point play when Brown caught the ball in the corner with his shoulders squared to the basket.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Pacers lost a playoff game after inbounding the ball up three in the last ten seconds, making them the only club to do so since at least 1997–98.

The 22 turnovers Indiana made in this game were the second-highest of the season and helped Boston score 32 points, the most points the Celtics had scored in any game this year.

Coach Rick Carlisle of the Pacers stated, “A lot of things had to go right for them and wrong for us.”

Indiana, which came into the game committing the second fewest turnovers per game among playoff teams, was not known for turning the ball over.

The Pacers committed five turnovers in the last 5:30, including overtime, compared to two field goals.

The center for the Pacers, Myles Turner, stated, “We showed our age a little bit tonight.” “Being a youthful team and being in this high stakes of a game, those uncharacteristic mistakes just made their way out.”

The Pacers did not abandon ship at TD Garden, even if they were denied the opportunity to win the first game of the conference finals. At the start of the game, Boston jumped out to a 12-0 lead and looked poised to run away with it. Twice, the Pacers responded to seize the lead after the Celtics had maintained a double-digit lead.

“All year long, our battle cry has been ‘continue to play, continue to push tempo, continue to execute, keep playing no matter what,'” Carlisle stated. “It’s served us well and it did tonight too. So, we got — it’s unfortunate we did so many good things in this game that it came down to a couple of mistakes at the end. But, this is the NBA playoffs. And, we’ve got to learn from it, and we got to bounce back.”

In each of the previous two postseason rounds, the Pacers had lost Game 1 before going on to win a close series. Though disappointed to lose in such a manner, Haliburton took encouragement from it, especially given how well they performed on Tuesday night.

“We know we can play with these guys,” he stated. “We know we belong. It’s discouraging just because of the plays that happened down the stretch, we felt like we were in position to win the game, just didn’t win the game.”

“But what I will say, is encouraging, we had been trash in Game 1s for the first series and second series. Today we played great for about 47 minutes, just didn’t sustain for 48.”

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