Pacers coach Rick Carlisle vows revenge on Celtics after Game 3 loss: ‘We’re going after them’

INDIANAPOLIS — With the Pacers trailing 3-0 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, thanks to two late-game drives, Indiana coach Rick Carlisle vowed revenge Saturday night.

“Believe me when I tell you, we’re going after them,” Carlisle said of the Celtics, after Boston stole the win from the Pacers 114-111 in the final seconds of Game 3.

Carlisle said the Pacers will “go” or “after” Boston on at least three occasions, and added that they will “hit even harder” in Game 4, which will be played Monday here in Indianapolis.

No team in NBA history has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit, and the Pacers could have easily taken a 2-1 lead in the series if not for some critical mistakes late in the game.

He added: “We will not be deterred.” “We’ll be back here on Monday night, looking to extend the series, and we’ll take it a lot harder.”

Carlisle fell behind on the podium at Gainbridge Fieldhouse after their team suffered a crushing defeat in which they led by as much as 18 points, by eight with just 2:38 remaining, while their best player was out with a hamstring injury and one of their role players had a game. His life.

But that player, Andrew Nembhard, had the ball stolen by Jrue Holiday with 3.3 seconds left and the Pacers down by one. The steal happened near the Pacers line and Nembhard ended up on the floor.

Carlisle was furious, calling for a foul in real time and then during a stoppage in play to review the Pacers’ foul after the steal. “I just watched the end, so you don’t need to remind me – I saw everything that happened,” he said.

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“There were a lot of things I didn’t agree with that I think any Indiana State fan wouldn’t agree with,” Carlisle said, clearly referring to the game officiating.

One of the reporters began to follow, but he interrupted, saying: “Everything, everything that happened.”

Holiday, who was listed as “questionable” to play due to fever, but finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals, scored the final 5 points and picked off Nembhard to secure the win. He said his theft was clean.

“I think, from my standpoint, I beat him right away,” Holiday said. “If anything, we were chest to chest. And then the ball came out, and it was just a little tap on his left hand. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I need to look at it again, but I didn’t really think there was a lot of contact “But everything happened so fast.”

A crucial turnover in the final seconds of Game 1 cost the Pacers a chance to win in regulation, and they fell in overtime. In that game, Carlisle said he made a mistake in not calling a timeout to advance the ball, which would have given his team better angles to enter the ball, draw a foul, and win.

Carlisle could have called a timeout with Nembhard on the floor in front of Holiday, but he said he didn’t this time because “with 8 or 9 seconds left, and you’re in transition after the foul, I trust our players will be able to create chances. It’s a shot.” Better than calling a timeout and having them set their defense, play endgame stuff on their video and showcase their players.

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“It’s like a basketball situation, and we’ve done a good job this year of trusting our players.”

Nembhard scored a career-high 32 points, both regular and postseason, with nine assists, while his regular backfield partner, Tyrese Haliburton, was dealing with a pulled hamstring. TJ McConnell scored 23 points off the bench, and Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner added 22 points each.

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Al Horford added 23 points in 7 3s.

After Holiday converted two foul shots with 1.7 seconds left, Carlisle still had that timeout and used it to put the ball forward on one final play. Nembhard was the interior player and all four of his backcourt teammates lined up like wide receivers on a football field, in a spread formation. The play was designed to prevent the defense from committing fouls before attempting a 3-point shot, and it nearly worked.

Aaron Nesmith made a layup and drove into the corner, but his open 3-point attempt missed.

“I mean, we’ve been watching (the play) for a while… Do you want me to give you our playbook,” Carlisle said. “It’s a play that (Pacers assistant coach) Mike Weinar, who came up with it, came up with. We’ve used it a few times over the last couple of years and got pretty good looks on it. If the same situation happens next game, we’ll use something a little different and hopefully get the same look.”

The Celtics trailed by 18 points in the third quarter and ended the game with a score of 13-2. There is doubt that Haliburton, who was injured in Game 2, will be able to return from a hamstring strain on Monday.

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“We have the best fans in the NBA here, we have the greatest basketball building on the planet, and we have another game for (Indiana fans) to go after these guys,” Carlisle said. “And believe me when I tell you we’re after them.”

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(Photo: Maddy Meyer/Getty Images)

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