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Scalabrine: C’s gave ‘championship-level performance’ in Game 3

In Sports
May 26, 2024

Scalabrine: C’s gave ‘championship-level performance’ in Game 3 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics‘ Game 3 win over the Indiana Pacers wasn’t their prettiest, but it still may have been their most impressive postseason performance thus far.

After taking an early nine-point lead, the C’s found themselves down 18 in the second quarter while getting pummeled in the paint by Indiana. The Pacers were virtually unstoppable inside the arc through the first two frames, shooting 69.4 percent on 2-pointers en route to a 69-point first half.

The Celtics woke up defensively in the second half, limiting Indiana to 18-of-47 (38.3 percent) shooting. They chipped away at their deficit and regained their lead late in the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday‘s clutch steal with seconds remaining sealed their 114-111 victory.

The thrilling comeback brings Boston within one win of an NBA Finals berth. While it took all 48 minutes for the C’s to finish off an undermanned Pacers squad, Eddie House came away pleased with their resilient effort.

“At the end of it all, the Boston Celtics are in a battle tonight and everybody’s gonna say, ‘Well, who were they playing? ‘They didn’t have (Tyrese) Halliburton out there,'” the 2008 NBA champion said on Celtics Postgame Live. “They’re gonna make every excuse for the fact that we weren’t in a battle, right? Because everybody’s talking about, ‘Well, the West is battle-tested.’ …

“This was a tough game and we persevered. We found our resiliency, showed up. And this is why we went and got Jrue Holiday. Let’s talk about it!”

Fellow analyst Brian Scalabrine joined House in gushing about how the Celtics handled their business after trailing by double digits on the road.

“I would say this is a gutsy win,” he said. “There’s a lot of times when you think they’re down and out. They give up a 3, they give up an and-one … but they just kept going. … (The) Pacers played good basketball today. This wasn’t two teams limping to the finish. The Celtics kept answering the call. At one point you’re like, ‘Man, are they gonna get back in this game?’ T.J. McConnell comes in, pushes that lead to nine, chip away, chip away, chip away. … 15 to 4 to close the game out and they win this game.

“This was a championship-level performance, start to finish. I only saw about two or three lulls, which those things happen in the game. I love the way that they responded today to the adversity of being in Indiana to go up 3-0.”

Holiday’s heroics prevented the C’s from spoiling stellar performances from Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. Tatum finished with 36 points (12-23 FG, 5-10 3-PT), 10 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks, and one steal. The 37-year-old Horford had 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from 3-point range, making him the oldest player to make seven 3s in a playoff game.

Boston will look to punch its ticket to the Finals on Monday night in Indiana. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET, and coverage starts at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston.

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