In-Season Tournament

Celtics-Pacers takeaways: Jaylen earns ECF MVP as C’s complete sweep

Celtics-Pacers takeaways: Jaylen earns ECF MVP as C's complete sweep

Celtics-Pacers takeaways: Jaylen earns ECF MVP as C's complete sweep originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics punched their ticket to the 2024 NBA Finals with another hard-fought win in Indiana.

It'll go down as a sweep in the record books, but it was undoubtedly the most competitive series of the postseason so far for Boston. The Pacers forced overtime in Game 1, led late in Game 3, and had the lead with under a minute to go in Game 4. In the series-clincher, the Celtics erased a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and played lockdown defense down the stretch to secure the 105-102 victory.

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Jaylen Brown led the way with a game-high 29 points and was named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP. Jayson Tatum added 26 points while Jrue Holiday and Derrick White tallied 17 and 16, respectively.

Andrew Nembhard had another strong showing for Indiana with a team-high 24 points. Pascal Siakam had 19 and T.J. McConnell added 15 off the bench.

The Celtics will meet the Dallas Mavericks or the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Finals. Dallas has a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals and will look to complete a sweep of its own on Tuesday night.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden. You can view the full Finals schedule here.

Before we look ahead to the championship round, here are three takeaways from Boston's series-clinching win over Indiana.

Jaylen Brown finishes strong to earn ECF MVP

Brown has come up big for the Celtics time and time again in this series, so it's only fitting that he was the one who propelled Boston to another comeback victory in Game 4.

The two-time All-Star overcame a slow start (1-7 FG) and caught fire in the second half, making 10 of his next 15 shots. He led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting (4-8 3-PT), including 19 in the second half.

Brown, perhaps playing with extra motivation after his All-NBA snub, saved the day for the C's late in the fourth quarter. He hit a game-tying shot, came up with a huge block on Andrew Nembhard, then dished to Derrick White for the go-ahead 3-pointer.

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Brown was presented with the Larry Bird Trophy after the win, and it was well-deserved. He averaged 29.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor in the series.

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Derrick White puts on a defensive clinic

Even when White's shots aren't falling, he still finds a way to leave his imprint on the game. That was the case again in Monday's matchup.

White's All-Defensive talents were on full display from start to finish. He ended up with five steals and three blocks, becoming only the third Celtic to have at least three blocks and four steals in a playoff game, per stats guru Dick Lipe.

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White is the first player since Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen with at least five steals and three blocks in a conference finals game.

Although White struggled from beyond the arc (2-9 3-PT), he stepped up offensively when it mattered most, drilling what turned out to be the game-winning 3-pointer with 48.9 seconds left. He finished with 16 points (7-14 FG), five steals, four rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 42 minutes.

Celtics capitalize on Pacers' late-game miscues

Had it not been for some late-game miscues, the Pacers could theoretically have had a 3-1 series lead right now. Three of the four games in the series came down to the wire and could have had a much different result if Indiana avoided its late-game errors.

Late turnovers haunted the Pacers in this series. They had five fourth-quarter turnovers in Game 1, four in Game 2, two in Game 3, and three in Game 4. They were out of sorts offensively during crunch time on Monday, going scoreless for the final 3:33.

There's an argument to be made that in previous years, the Celtics would have folded down the stretch and failed to take advantage of their opponent's mistakes. This C's team has proven they're different, and that could ultimately be the key to Banner 18.

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