Jaylen Brown’s motivation and Tyrese Haliburton’s availability dictate Game 2

News, notes and observations following the Boston Celtics’ 126-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, giving Boston a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

• Jaylen Brown has three All-Star appearances and a $300 million contract, but it would be ridiculous to think he didn’t use this week’s All-NBA team announcement as motivation for Game 2. Brown, who was not named to none of the three All-NBA teams, lost 40 points to Indiana on 14 of 27 shooting. He was 4 of 10 from three-point range and was a powerhouse in the paint, getting to the free throw line 11 times.

“Just being aggressive, wanting to get out in transition and run,” Brown said. “But he wanted to attack his smaller guards, put pressure on them and get to the basket.”

After initially ignoring suggestion that All-NBA snub offered additional motivation—“We are two (wins) away from the Finals,” Brown said. “I don’t have time to give a damn.” — Brown admitted to being aware of how his achievements can go unnoticed.

“I mean, I see how they praise and anoint guys that I think are half as talented as me on both sides of the ball,” Brown said. “But at this point in my life, I just accept it. It comes with being who I am and what I stand for and I’m not really going to change that. So I go out there and I’m grateful that I can go out on the court every night and do my best. I improve every year. And whether people appreciate it or not, it is what it is.”

• Does anyone else think it was strange to see Rick Carlisle wave the white flag so early? The Pacers have been resilient this postseason, including this series, including this game, with Indy cutting into double-digit leads in the second and third quarters. However, with nine minutes left and the Pacers trailing by 17 (striking distance by NBA standards), the only starter on the court was Andrew Nembhard. Of course, Tyrese Haliburton was injured, but Aaron Nesmith and Myles Turner didn’t play a single minute in the fourth quarter, while Pascal Siakam played three. Even the Celtics seemed surprised by the decision.

“It was definitely a little strange,” Brown said.

Carlisle’s explanation made even less sense. He said he wanted fresh legs in the game and wanted to give players who hadn’t had much postseason play (Doug McDermott and Jalen Smith) a chance to play. It’s unlikely Indiana would have come back, but giving up so early in a playoff game was strange.

• After being outscored 30-13 in bench points in Game 1, the Celtics needed a boost from their second unit and they got one in Oshae Brissett. Forced into duty when Luke Kornet went out with a left wrist injury, Brissett’s stats didn’t stand out (two points, three rebounds), but his defense was solid and his energy was infectious. He finished +18 in 12 minutes (tied with Brown for the team-high) and allowed Boston to play at a faster pace.

“He plays with a very high level of intensity and energy,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He is very important to us.”

Brissett and Turner try to get a rebound during Game 2.

Brissett and Turner try to get a rebound during Game 2. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum said: “We see the guys in the group who are ready to work and show up for us every day. “So I love when they can call their number and have a chance to help us win the game.”

Playing his first significant minutes this postseason, Brissett made the case for playing more. Kornet has been part of the Celtics’ rotation all season, but Turner took him out in Game 1, and even if he can go to Game 3 (Mazzulla didn’t offer any update after the game), Boston would be better off if he were to go. made him smaller and gave the no –Al Horford minutes to Brissett.

“I thought everything went well,” Mazzulla said. “I like the speed, I like the athleticism, I like the space we have. It has strengths and some weaknesses that we have to be prepared for, but I think that being open-minded throughout the year to play in different ways prepares us for situations like this.”

• Speaking of Horford, what the soon-to-be 38-year-old is doing is extraordinary. After scoring 15 points in 40 minutes in Game 1, Horford had six points, 10 rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes in Game 2. With Kristaps Porziņģis out, Horford is Boston’s only reliable big man, and he has been exactly that, spacing the court on the offensive side and providing a physical and solid defense on the other. Horford, who will turn 38 before the NBA Finals, looks like he could easily play into his 40s.

• Proof: Only four players remain active from the 2007 NBA draft. Horford is one of them. He names the other two. Answer at the end.

• Game 5 is scheduled for Wednesday in Boston, but the Pacers will have trouble extending it if Haliburton can’t attend both games in Indiana. Haliburton left Thursday’s game in the third quarter with left leg soreness, which Carlisle later clarified was referring to his hamstring, the same hamstring that cost Haliburton 10 games in January. Haliburton also spent part of halftime in Boston’s exam room with a chest muscle strain.

After the game, Carlisle was noncommittal about Haliburton’s availability for Game 3.

“We’ll find out,” Carlisle said. “We’ll probably know more tomorrow and probably even more on Saturday.”

Haliburton left Game 2 in the second half with a hamstring injury.

Haliburton left Game 2 in the second half with a hamstring injury. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

• Rotations are costing Indiana. After coughing up the ball 22 times in Game 1, the Pacers turned it over 16 times in Game 2, losing the turnover battle for the second straight game. Indiana’s offense was decent; The Pacers shot 52.4% from the floor and 38% from three, but gave up 54 points in the paint and were even outrebounded, 40-37.

• Carlisle, in addition to his duties in Indiana, is also president of the NBA Coaches Association, so it was no surprise to hear him weigh in on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ decision to fire JB Bickerstaff.

“I thought JB Bickerstaff did an amazing job,” Carlisle said. “That was a complete cultural change there. It was inventive. They started playing big four and a half years ago. A lot of people were like, ‘Huh? How is this going to work?

“In our profession, no one likes it, but teams and owners can fire whoever they want, so our business has to be very resilient. He’s been through a lot in his career. He has grown a lot as a coach. JB will be fine. He will surely be a head coach again.”

There were certainly problems in Cleveland, but in four-plus years, Bickerstaff cleaned up the John Beilein mess, put together three straight winning seasons (including a 48-34 record in the latter) and led the Cavs to the second round of the Cup. . playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left town. Bickerstaff’s firing comes on the heels of Adrian Griffin, Frank Vogel and Darvin Ham being fired after brief stints with their teams. Why bother hiring a coach if you have no intention of supporting them?

• Derrick White and British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran had a long conversation before the game and I would give anything to know what they were talking about.

• Two of the reported finalists for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job were at TD Garden on Thursday with Sam Cassell in his usual spot on the Celtics bench and JJ Redick on the other side of the court working on the broadcast for ESPN. Los Angeles hasn’t made a statement yet, but there’s a growing belief among people I’ve spoken to that Redick is the clear favorite. Cassell, a former NBA champion who has built an excellent coaching resume, could also emerge as a candidate in Cleveland.

• Quiz Answer: Kevin Durant, Mike Conley Jr. and Jeff Green.