Jrue Holiday’s Late Surge Propels Celtics To 114-111 Win Over Pacers, Securing 3-0 Lead In East Finals


Jrue Holiday felt unwell all day, even missing the team’s morning shootaround.

However, when it mattered most, the Celtics guard stepped up.

Holiday converted a three-point play with 38.9 seconds left, giving Boston its first lead in nearly 36 minutes. He followed that with a game-saving steal and sealed the 114-111 victory over Indiana with two free throws on Saturday night, giving the Celtics a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half and can secure their second NBA Finals trip in three years with another win on Monday in Indiana.

Holiday finished with 14 points, including five in the final 39 seconds, and grabbed nine rebounds despite appearing under the weather at times. After the game, he sounded like himself and felt well enough to balance his children on his lap.

As Holiday found his footing, Boston’s other players delivered strong performances.

Jayson Tatum matched his playoff career high with 36 points, adding 10 rebounds and eight assists. Jaylen Brown contributed 24 points, and 37-year-old Al Horford scored 23 points, shooting 7-of-12 on 3-pointers.

But it was Holiday’s late-game heroics that silenced Indiana’s raucous crowd and kept Boston perfect on the road in this season’s playoffs, now at 5-0.

The Pacers already faced a tough challenge in this series, especially after learning that All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton would miss Game 3 due to a left hamstring injury. His availability for Game 4 remains uncertain.

Despite this, the Pacers refused to fold.

Andrew Nembhard led Indiana with a career-high 32 points before Holiday stole the ball from him with 3.3 seconds remaining. T.J. McConnell added 23 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, while Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam each scored 22 points, with Turner also grabbing 10 rebounds.

Indiana had a chance to force overtime, but Aaron Nesmith’s 3-pointer missed the mark.

The Pacers played well, scoring 69 points in the first half, building 18-point leads twice, and holding a 107-99 advantage with three minutes left against the NBA’s top team. However, Haliburton’s absence was noticeable.

A sellout crowd, primarily in gold checkered flag shirts for the Indianapolis 500 weekend, helped energize the Pacers, just as they had during the first playoff home games, all of which were wins.

But Holiday’s finishing flurry—a crucial layup, the go-ahead free throw, a key defensive play, and two free throws with 1.1 seconds left—quieted the crowd on a wild night.

Indiana built an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter and matched it again midway through the third. The second time, Boston capitalized on a series of Indiana turnovers to spark a 13-4 run, reducing the deficit to 90-81 after three quarters.

The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a 9-3 run, getting within 93-90 on Horford’s 3-pointer with 8:29 left.

Indiana responded by rebuilding a 107-99 lead with 3:05 remaining, only to see Boston finish with a 13-2 run, fueled by Holiday’s heroics.

“We’ve met every challenge,” Tatum said. “We’re in great position right now, one win away from the finals. But we can’t look past Monday or anything like that and we have a special opportunity to go back to the finals.”