Celtics edge Pacers after OT in East finals opener

Jayson Tatum has scored 36 points, including 10 in overtime after Jaylen Brown’s tying three-pointer with 6.1 seconds remaining in regulation, and Boston rallied just in time for a 133-128 victory over Indiana in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Jrue Holiday added a season-high 28 points on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) and Brown finished with 26.

Game 2 is Thursday night, also in Boston.

“I think we always knew that there’s always a chance. We’ve seen crazy stuff happen all the time,” Holiday said.

“I don’t think that we think we lost the game until we actually lost the game and that’s part of the reason why we were so resilient.”

Tyrese Haliburton had 25 points and 10 assists for the Pacers, who knocked down 13 three-pointers and scored 56 points in the paint against a Celtics team still playing without Kristaps Porzingis (calf).

Pascal Siakam added 24 points and 12 rebounds and Myles Turner finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for sixth seeds Indiana, who twice turned it over with a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

Brown made them pay for the second one, hitting a triple from the corner with Siakam right in his face to tie it at 117.

“Jaylen had great balance,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said.

“Great pass, great shot.”

The Pacers went back ahead 123-121 when Haliburton hit all three free throws after being fouled with 1:46 remaining. Tatum then muscled into a layup and was fouled by TJ McConnell and completed the three-point play to put Boston ahead for good.

Indiana turned it over again, this time by Haliburton. The ball found its way to Tatum at the top of key. He pumped, sidestepped a defender and sunk a three to make it 127-123 with 43 seconds left.

Derrick White and Siakam traded layouts. Holiday was fouled and hit two free throws to give Boston a 131-125 cushion.

“It’s unfortunate we did so many good things in this game that it came down to a couple of mistakes at the end, but it’s the NBA playoffs,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

“We’ve got to learn from it and we’ve got to bounce back”