Celtics strike late to sweep Pacers, into NBA Finals

Derrick White's tie-breaking three-pointer with 43 seconds has given Boston the lead and the Celtics went on to close out a four-game sweep of Indiana to reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

White finished with 16 points in Monday night's 105-102 win in Indianapolis, while Jaylen Brown led the visitors with 29 points and Jayson Tatum added 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to help erase a nine-point second-half deficit.

Boston swept the Pacers after rallying from a 3-0 deficit in last year's conference finals against Miami to force a seventh game, which they lost.

"They fought us hard to the wire, they have pride as a team. They didn't want to give up," a relieved Tatum said.

"We missed bunnies all night. I knew we were due for one. That was a big time shot."

Jaylen Brown.
Jaylen Brown and his Celtics teammates celebrate another Eastern Conference title. (AP PHOTO)

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 triple in the closing seconds and the Pacers never got the ball again.

Pascal Siakam added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the home side while T.J. McConnell had 15 points and Aaron Nesmith 14.

"Our guys embraced it," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of his team's effort without Haliburton and throughout the playoffs.

"Give them (the Celtics) credit for the stuff they pulled off at the end of the last two games. They simply made more plays."

Chasing the 18th NBA title in franchise history, the Celtics will play the winner of the Dallas-Minnesota series. The Mavericks are up 3-0 and have a chance to win the series on Tuesday night.

"We feel confident, we feel comfortable in any type of game, and we feel we've got answers for anything at us," White said.

"We've just got to find the right ones."