The Boston Celtics suffered a frustrating 133-131 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night after officials overturned a foul call on Pacers guard Buddy Hield in the final seconds. The controversial finish left the Celtics fuming and calling for an investigation from the league.
Back-and-Forth Battle Goes Down to the Wire
The game was a back-and-forth affair throughout, with 18 lead changes and no team ever leading by more than 7 points. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 38 points while Tyrese Haliburton paved the way for Indiana with 24 points and 9 assists.
Boston held a 131-130 lead with 10 seconds left after Jaylen Brown hit a pull-up jumper. On the ensuing possession, Haliburton drove inside and kicked it out to Hield in the corner for a potential go-ahead 3-pointer. Hield’s shot bounced off the rim and Brown appeared to be fouled going for the rebound. Officials initially called a foul on Hield before overturning it during a review.
I thought I got fouled,” said Brown. “
I was going for the rebound and felt a lot of contact. I don't know what they saw in the review but that was a tough way to end the game.“
With no foul called, Indiana retained possession. Haliburton was then fouled driving to the basket and sank both free throws to put the Pacers up 133-131. Marcus Smart’s half-court heave at the buzzer came up short and Indiana held on for the win, snapping Boston’s six-game win streak in the process.
“It was clearly a foul on me,” Hield admitted after the game. “I hit [Brown’s] arm. The refs missed it.”
Controversial Finish Sparks Outrage
The overturned foul call on Hield in the final seconds was the biggest talking point after the game. Replays showed Hield made contact with Brown on his follow-through, leading many to criticize officials for overturning what looked to be a clear foul.
We've gotta get that looked at by the league,” said Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla. “
All three referees came over and told me it was a foul, then they changed the call. I don't know if that was because Indiana was arguing or what but we deserve clarity on what happened there.“
Brown echoed Mazzulla’s comments and said the controversial ending warrants an investigation from the NBA.
It was clearly a foul and they missed it,” Brown said firmly. “
The league needs to take a close look at what happened because calls like that can swing games.“
|Celtics Top Performers
While Boston’s stars shined bright, the team dug themselves an early hole by allowing 42 points in the third quarter. Indiana shot 63% from the field in the period, led by Haliburton’s 10 points and 4 assists. The Pacers carried a 103-94 lead into the fourth quarter before the Celtics rallied to make things interesting late.
“We lost this game in the third quarter when we came out flat and let them take control,” said Mazzulla. “Our defense has to be better for us to compete every night.“
What’s Next for These Teams
The Celtics and Pacers will run it back on Thursday night when they meet again in Indiana. It sets up as another intriguing battle between two of the East’s top teams.
For Boston, the focus will be regrouping defensively after allowing the Pacers to shoot over 50% from the field. Mazzulla will also hope the league takes a look at the controversial final moments so his team feels the game was officiated properly.
Indiana received a gutsy performance from Haliburton but may be without him on Thursday. Haliburton suffered a sprained left elbow late in the fourth quarter and underwent an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity. His availability for the rematch is up in the air.
No matter the outcome, Thursday’s meeting will be a chippy affair following Monday’s dramatic finish. The Celtics will be out for revenge while the Pacers try to defend their home court and win the season series.
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