NBA: Celtics Into Playoffs Finals With Clean Sweep Against Pacers

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The Boston Celtics will play in the NBA Finals after wrapping up a clean sweep in their Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Indiana Pacers. Jaylen Brown found Derrick White to score a decisive three-pointer with 45 seconds left to play and seal a 105-102 win for the Celtics.

“It’s been nothing but a grind, we haven’t skipped any steps all season,” said Brown. “We’ve got a bunch of great guys in this locker room, tough guys. Our coaching staff has been great, front office great and now we want to take the next step.”

Indiana, who again played without two-time All-Star Tyrese Haliburton, lost their second straight at home – both in the final minute after giving up leads. Andrew Nembhard had 24 points, 10 assists and six rebounds but missed a potentially tying three-pointer in the closing seconds and the Pacers never got the ball again. Pascal Siakam added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana while TJ McConnell had 15 points and Aaron Nesmith had 14. Indiana lost three times despite holding leads or being tied in the final minute, and it happened again on Monday as Boston rallied late.

It is the second time in three seasons they have reached the NBA Finals. Brown scored 29 points while Jayson Tatum added 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics ran out 4-0 series winners.

“Look at all the talent, look at the players we have,” said Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla. “It’s really all about them, they let us coach them. They allow us to push them, they listen to us and they set the temperature of the organisation every single day. “As a coach, the greatest gift you can have is a group of guys that trust you and allow you to coach them.”

Boston, who will feature in the NBA Finals for the 23rd time in franchise history, have raced through their post-season fixtures, beating the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Pacers with a 12-2 record. They will face either the Dallas Mavericks or the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Finals. Dallas lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series as they prepare to host Minnesota in game four on Wednesday.

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