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In a thrilling Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics showcased their resilience and championship mettle with a dramatic 114-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Jrue Holiday emerged as the unlikely hero, converting a crucial three point play with 38.9 seconds remaining to give Boston its first lead in nearly 36 minutes. He followed that with a game saving steal and clinched the win with two free throws, pushing the Celtics to a commanding 3-0 series lead.

The Celtics, who found themselves trailing by as much as 18 points in the second half, mounted a remarkable comeback. Holiday, despite appearing under the weather at times, delivered when it mattered most, scoring five of his 14 points in the final 39 seconds and grabbing nine rebounds. His late game heroics ensured Boston’s triumph and left the Celtics just one win away from their second NBA Finals appearance in three years.

While Holiday’s late game contributions were pivotal, Boston’s other stars were equally instrumental in securing the victory. Jayson Tatum matched his playoff career high with 36 points, adding 10 rebounds and eight assists in a dominant performance. Jaylen Brown contributed 24 points, consistently attacking the Pacers defense. Al Horford, the 37-year-old veteran, turned back the clock with a stellar 23-point effort, shooting an impressive 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.

The game started with the Pacers taking control early, capitalizing on Boston’s turnovers and building a significant lead. Indiana’s balanced scoring and aggressive defense kept the Celtics on the back foot for most of the game. However, Boston’s persistence paid off in the fourth quarter as they chipped away at the deficit.

With just under a minute left and the Celtics trailing by two, Holiday drove to the basket, absorbed contact, and finished the play while drawing a foul. His ensuing free throw gave Boston a 110-109 lead. Moments later, he stripped the ball from Indiana’s star guard, leading to a pair of free throws that extended the lead to three points. The Pacers had a chance to tie the game, but Boston’s defense held firm, and Holiday sealed the victory at the free-throw line.

The Celtics now have the opportunity to close out the series on Monday night in Indiana, poised to advance to the NBA Finals once again. The Pacers, facing elimination, will need to find answers quickly if they hope to extend the series.

Boston’s comeback in Game 3 was a testament to their depth, experience, and tenacity. With contributions from their veteran leaders, the Celtics demonstrated why they are considered one of the premier teams in the league. As the series continues, Boston’s focus will be on maintaining their momentum and securing their place in the NBA Finals.

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