Big favorites in this best-of-seven-match series, the Celtics have this time assumed their status, after having painfully won the first meeting on Tuesday. Jaylen Brown had already appeared as a hero by snatching the extension. This time, the winger compiled 40 points, helping Boston take flight in the second quarter during a 20-0 run for the ‘C’s.

“He is a great player, a great leader who wants to win and knows how to take charge. I like having this type of guy with me, I will fight for him,” greeted his teammate Jrue Holiday. “He made the right choices, that’s the most important thing,” added coach Joe Mazzulla.

Best record of the regular season (64 wins – 18 losses), Boston surprisingly lost Game 2 at home in its first two rounds of play-offs, but did not make the same mistake on Thursday and finds itself in an excellent position for reach the NBA finals like in 2022.

For the Pacers, the task becomes even more complicated with the exit of their leader Tyrese Haliburton during the third quarter, injured in the hamstring on the left side, an area where he suffered a significant injury this season. “We will know more tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday,” said his coach Rick Carlisle simply.

Pascal Siakam (28 points) brought the Pacers to five points at halftime, then to two points after the locker room, but the Celtics took off again. “They just played better than us, you have to know how to look at yourself in the mirror, and move on to the next game,” explained Siakam, titled in 2019 with Toronto, where he arrived in January to help Indiana reach a milestone . A bet that has already paid off, since the Pacers have made it through two rounds of play-offs for the first time since 2014.

On the “C’s” side, Brown was well assisted by the usual boss Jayson Tatum (23 points), who took time to find the rhythm, and by Derrick White (23 points). Trailing 2-0, Indiana finds itself in a delicate position, but was able to reverse the previous series against the New York Knicks after the same start. Their reaction is expected during Game 3 on Saturday at home.