The Celtics Have Extra to Do, however They’re Passing Each Take a look at

by Christina S. Brown
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INDIANAPOLIS — This time, a visit to the Jap Convention finals by the Boston Celtics ended with none clamoring from the general public and the press field that the coach should go and, oh, by the way in which, let’s purpose a wrecking ball on the roster.

This time, it ended with the Celtics rising with a 105-102 victory over the Indiana Pacers Monday night time at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to finish a sweep of the Indiana Pacers. Some rapid-fire play-by-play is required right here, starting with how the Celtics, trailing for a lot of the night time, went on a late 10-2 run. Jayson Tatum made it 100-100 with a driving dunk, after which, ahem, collection MVP Jaylen Brown tied it once more, this time 102-102, with an 8-foot bounce shot. Brown subsequent delivered protection, blocking Andrew Nembhard’s would-be 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining.

After which? After which it ended, for all sensible functions, with Derrick White nailing a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining, this after the Celtics had rallied from an 8-point deficit with 5:56 remaining and a 5-point deficit with 4:14 to go.

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GO DEEPER

Celtics sweep Pacers to advance to NBA Finals

Sure, White’s game-winner occurred to fall on the primary anniversary of his inconceivable game-winning buzzer-beater in opposition to Miami in Sport 6 of final 12 months’s Jap Convention finals, however that’s simply fodder for Trivia Night time on the native sports activities bar, people. In the true world, particularly the true NBA, it means nothing. For these 2024 playoff Celtics aren’t these 2023 playoff Celtics, who rallied for 3 straight victories after shedding the primary three video games after which obtained blown out in Sport 7 at TD Backyard. Nope, these Celtics aren’t these Celtics in any respect, some extent that was made by Brown after the sport when he mentioned, “We have now a unique group yearly, completely different coaches. We’ve had like three coaches within the final 5 years. And nonetheless, individuals wish to make it appear to be it’s the identical, it’s the identical, it’s the identical. Time has passed by. Expertise has been gained. And we’re able to put our greatest foot ahead.”

Brown is appropriate, in fact. Simply as he was appropriate, and actually, actually humorous, when requested if he was shocked to be named collection MVP. “I wasn’t anticipating it in any respect,” he mentioned. “I by no means win (expletive), so …”

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Jaylen Brown wins Jap Convention finals MVP

The yuck-yuck is that Brown didn’t stroll away with any of the person regular-season awards that loads of NBA followers, together with an NBA fan named Jaylen Brown, thought he ought to have received. It’s good to roll it on the market that Brown proved his skeptics improper along with his stellar effort in opposition to the Pacers — the 3-pointer from the nook to win Sport 1 in additional time, the 40-point effort in Sport 2, the stable two-way play in Sport 4 — however it’s greater than that. Sure, the Celtics “have a unique group yearly,” however that is the place it’s the identical, it’s the identical, it’s the identical: These are the Tatum/Brown Celtics, or, for many who consider placement on the marquee is necessary, the Brown/Tatum Celtics. It’s their time, their very personal period, and so they haven’t delivered a championship but. Now they’re within the NBA Finals for the second time in three years, however with a greater supporting forged — particularly if Kristaps Porziņģis returns.

And so if expectations imply something — and so they do, they do — the Celtics have received nothing but. There’s merely no state of affairs by which a Celtic fail within the NBA Finals in opposition to Dallas or Minnesota can be spun into silver linings, life classes or glasses half-filled. However that’s for in a while. For now, for right this moment, the Celtics’ magnificent eyes-on-the-prize work ethic is to be saluted.

Couple what occurred in Sport 4 with what occurred in Sport 3, when Boston rallied to victory after trailing by 18 factors, and what we’ve here’s a group that each coach at each stage can use for show-and-tell when explaining that gifted groups don’t win on expertise alone. In addition they win as a result of they’re able to old school intestine checks.

“We really feel snug in any kind of sport,” White mentioned. “We really feel like we’ve the solutions for something groups throw at us, it doesn’t matter what the state of affairs is.”

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A lot can be written that the Pacers conveniently rolled over for the Celtics on this collection. They most likely ought to have received Sport 1, and so they might have received Video games 3 and 4. In addition they have loads of sad followers who consider Brown ought to have obtained a flagrant with 7:23 remaining when he inadvertently struck T.J. McConnell within the face — laborious — because the Pacer was grabbing a rebound. It was dominated a standard foul. “We really feel that it was unlucky, however it didn’t rise to the extent of a flagrant foul,” crew chief Zach Zarba mentioned, per a pool report.

There’s room for a grown-up dialogue as to how that play ought to have been adjudicated. Kevin McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis it was not, however it was a success with hair on it, even when delivered by chance.

To argue that the Pacers ought to have received this or that sport is to take criticism of the Celtics to an absurd stage. It’s like saying the Seattle Seahawks ought to have received Tremendous Bowl XLIX however misplaced to the Patriots as a result of Russell Wilson determined to throw the ball. It’s like saying the Pink Sox ought to have received Sport 6 of the 1986 World Sequence however misplaced as a result of Invoice Buckner had the ball go between his legs.

Cease that. Actually, cease it. The Celtics are actually 12-2 within the playoffs. However they’re not mauling everyone. They simply occur to be the group with the very best file and the very best intestine checks.

(Photograph of Derrick White’s successful shot over Aaron Nesmith: Dylan Buell / Getty Photos)

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