Jaylen Brown, Celtics use experience to eliminate Pacers, advance to NBA Finals

Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (L) scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half of a win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday in Indianapolis. Photo by C.J. Gunther/EPA-EFE
Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (L) scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half of a win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday in Indianapolis. Photo by C.J. Gunther/EPA-EFE

May 28 (UPI) -- Jaylen Brown said the Boston Celtics leaned on their experience to sweep the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals and advance to the title series for the second time in three years.

Brown recorded a game-high 29 points in the Celtics' 105-102 Game 4 triumph Monday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. He received Eastern Conference finals MVP honors for his efforts.


The Celtics will now meet the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2024 NBA Finals. They will look to win their first title since 2008 and 18th overall, which would pass the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in NBA history.

The Celtics, who posted a league-high 64 wins during the regular season, also will look to snap their trend of playoff failures over the last decade.


"We feel like we are a different team than we were last year and the year before that," Brown told reporters. "I know everybody wants to pigeonhole us to what happened in the past, but we've had a different team every single year. We've had three coaches in the last five years, still, people want to make it seem like it's the same.

"Time has gone by, experience has been gained. I think we are ready to put our best foot forward."

The Pacers, who played without injured All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, outshot their foes 46% to 44.9% in Game 4. Their bench held a 34-10 scoring advantage. The game featured 15 lead changes and was tied eight times.

"The guys did a great job of having an understanding that a game is not supposed to go a certain type of way," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. "You have to find different ways to win. You have to learn how to protect leads, learn to come back from deficits, learn to execute in close game situations, you have to communicate adjustments and you just have to make plays. You've got to be tough-minded. As many different situations as we can put ourselves in heading into this last round, it's important.


"The guys have done a great job just winning games many different ways. We've gotten good practices executing .We've just got to continue it."

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum logged 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Brown scored 19 points in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter. He also supplied a clutch fourth-quarter block and assisted the go-ahead basket.

Celtics guards Jrue Holiday and Derrick White scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points in the loss.

The lead switched hands twice through the first few minutes of Game 4. The Celtics then went on an 11-2 run for a 14-6 advantage. They carried a 29-27 lead into the second quarter. The lead switched 10 times in that frame, but the Celtics held a 58-57 edge at the break. Nembhard scored a dozen in the second quarter.

The Pacers outscored the Celtics 26-22 in the third and carried an 83-80 advantage into the fourth. They outscored their foes 11-5 through the first three minutes of the quarter, building a 94-84 edge.

They held onto the lead until Brown hit a jumper with 2:40 remaining, tying the score at 102-102. The Pacers missed their final four shots, including a Nembhard attempt that was blocked by Brown with just over a minute remaining.


White hit a clutch go-ahead corner 3-pointer on the resulting possession, giving the Celtics their final advantage. Nembhard missed a game-tying attempt from downtown on the Pacers' final possession.

"It's a hell of a team we just played," Brown said of the Pacers. "They made us earn every single game. We are extremely grateful that we are going to the Finals.

The Mavericks, who own a 3-0 lead on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference finals, will host Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday in Dallas. Game 5, if necessary, will be Thursday in Minneapolis.

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