Jaylen Brown scores 40 as Celtics beat Pacers for 2-0 lead in East finals

Jaylen Brown tied his career playoff high with 40 points, including 10 to help Boston run off 20 straight points in the first half to take the lead for good, and the Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 126-110 on Thursday night to open. a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Following Game 1s, when his three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left in regulation time forced overtime, Brown helped Boston turn a five-point deficit in the first quarter into a 15-point lead in the second quarter.

Jayson Tatum and Derrick White each scored 23 points and Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 10 assists for the top-seeded Celtics, who lost Game 2 in both of their previous series this postseason.

Pascal Siakam scored 28 for Indiana, which returns home Saturday and Monday nights for Games 3 and 4. Tyrese Haliburton, who had 25 points and 10 assists in the series opener, had 10 points and eight assists Thursday before leaving the game in the third quarter left due to a painful left leg.

One play after the Celtics jumped out to a 12-0 lead and Indiana spent the rest of the first half clawing its way back, the lead changed hands ten times in the opening quarter, with the Pacers taking a 27-22 lead had with 1:14. left.

Then Boston scored the next 20 points.

Indiana missed nine straight shots and scored four goals during the drought that lasted more than six minutes. Brown himself scored 10 during the run and had 24 at the half; he opened the third quarter with two quick baskets to give the Celtics a 61–52 lead.

But Siakam also came out strong in the second half, hitting four baskets β€” a pair of 2s and a pair of 3s β€” in the first four minutes to make it a two-point game. Boston pulled away again – this time for good, scoring 16 of the next 21 points.

Indiana never got within single digits again.

Brown scored 26 points Tuesday night as the Celtics won thanks to some unforced errors by the Pacers β€” especially Haliburton β€” late in the game. On Wednesday, Brown was left off the All-NBA teams; Last year’s second-team selection qualified him for a five-year supermax extension, making him the highest-paid player in the NBA.

Asked if he should talk to Brown about focusing on the team, rather than an individual criticism, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said before the game: β€œHe’s a very mature man, so I don’t have to do that. “

β€œHe has a great outlook on life. He knows what is important and what is not,” Mazzulla said before the match. β€œHe works very hard and he knows who he is as a person and as a player. That is the most important thing.”