BOSTON — Jayson Tatum scored 30 points and had two blocks in the final 30 seconds to help the Boston Celtics hold off the Indiana Pacers 129-124 on Tuesday night.
Jaylen Brown added 25 points and Derrick White finished with 24 to help Boston win its season series with Indiana, 3-2. The Pacers eliminated the Celtics in the quarterfinal round of the In-Season Tournament in December.
Aaron Nesmith led the Pacers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Pascal Siakam finished with 23 points and Myles Turner added 17. All-Star Tyrese Haliburton had 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics led by 20 points late in the first half, but Indiana rallied and trailed 127-124 when White blocked a tying 3-point attempt by Nesmith. Tatum then denied an attempt by Turner at the rim, leading to a shot-clock violation.
Jayson Tatum came up big when the Celtics needed it most tonight 👏
30 PTS | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 BLK pic.twitter.com/EvpjLOxqfb
— NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2024
Jrue Holiday extended Boston’s lead with two free throws. Nesmith pushed the ball up the floor and Tatum was called for a foul with 11.2 seconds on the clock as he appeared to cleanly block the shot. Boston challenged the call, and the foul was overturned after review.
After stumbling at the start of the teams’ two previous outings, the Celtics came out energized.
Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. His presence inside kept Indiana honest defensively and helped Boston’s shooters spread the Pacers out. It produced open looks for the Celtics, who knocked down 17 3s on the night. Porzingis finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pacers went on a 25-10 run in the third quarter to regain the lead at 94-93. Boston responded over the final 4:11 of the period, ending it with Neemias Queta’s dunk off a pass from Tatum to give the Celtics a 106-103 edge entering the fourth.
The Celtics surged to begin the final period, using a 16-9 run to build a 122-112 cushion with just over five minutes to play.
Pacers: At New York on Thursday.
Celtics: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.