Make your home page

Pacers blow another fourth quarter lead, get swept by Celtics

Andrew Nembhard #2 of the Indiana Pacers strips the ball from Payton Pritchard #11 of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on May 27, 2024, in Indianapolis. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It was familiar story for the Pacers on Monday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics.

In Game 1, they had a three-point lead with 8.1 seconds left. In Game 3, they had an eight-point lead with 2:38 left. In Game 4, with 5:36 remaining, they led by eight points.

In all three of those games, they lost.

The Pacers went scoreless for the last 3:33 on Monday. At that point, they led 102-98. With 45 seconds left, Derrick White hit the go ahead three-pointer in the corner for the Celtics, and they would keep that lead for the rest of the game, winning 105-102 to sweep the Pacers in the best-of-seven playoff series.

It was a series of late game debacles for the Pacers. A series of what could have been instead of what actually happened. But Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle talked positively about the team after the game.

“We thanked our players a few moments ago for an amazing season, a magical season,” Carlisle said. “The level of fight was just tremendous all the way through this. Circumstance never phased them one way the other. They were in this to win every possession that they could.”

The Pacers were without All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) for the second straight game,. In his absence, Andrew Nembhard stepped up. He led the Pacers in points in each game, scoring 32 points in Game 3 and 24 points in Game 4.

The Celtics were fueled by their All-NBA duo Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who combined to score 55 points.

Indiana’s attention now turns to the offseason. Pascal Siakam enters free agency after spending just half the season in Indianapolis after he was traded to the Pacers midseason.

“All I can say is that it’s been a blessing,” Siakam said. “I’m really appreciative of everything.”

Obi Toppin and Doug McDermott will also hit free agency. Isaiah Jackson and Bennedict Mathurin have team options and Jalen Smith has a player option.

But despite being swept by the Celtics, Carlisle still called it a ‘magical season.’ The Pacers finished the season with a 47-35 record in the regular season. They also made their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since 2014.