The Indiana Pacers are going to be kicking themselves after that spectacular meltdown in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics. 

Things were going swimmingly for them through the first two and a half quarters, especially after TJ McConnell hit a close pull-up jumper to push the Pacers’ lead to 84-66 with 6:04 left in the third quarter. More importantly, the Pacers took that big lead while missing their star player in Tyrese Haliburton – who suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2.

Jayson Tatum had a fantastic game with 36 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two blocks while shooting 5 of 10 from three. His shotmaking was a big factor in the huge comeback victory, and one of his assists came in the pivotal run that helped them win the game.

Jaylen Brown, who was the hero of Game 2 with his 40 points, had another solid outing with 24 points and continued his hot shooting by making 10 of 18 attempts. 

The Celtics’ two biggest heroes, though, weren’t their stars. First was old man Al Horford, who made 7 of 12 three-pointers to finish with 23 points, five rebounds and three blocks. 

Jrue Holiday was the other on with a huge performance, which isn’t fully reflected by his final line of 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Holiday was the one who made the go-ahead three-point play after making a layup and then hitting a free throw with 38.2 seconds left on the clock.

Then, after Tatum missed a drive with 10 seconds left, Holiday clamped down on Andrew Nembhard, who had a fantastic game filling in for Haliburton with 32 points and nine assists. Holiday stripped Nembhard with 3.1 seconds left on the clock, stopping the Pacers from getting off a game-winning attempt and instead forcing them to foul. Holiday calmly sank the two free throws to push the Celtics’ lead to 114-111, and the Pacers were unable to make a game-tying shot as time expired.

Holiday’s big play is exactly why the Celtics brought him in this season. He’s a proven champion capable of excellent clutch defense, and the Milwaukee Bucks might be wondering now if they were better off keeping Holiday instead of making the trade for Damian Lillard. After sneaking away this win, Boston now have a commanding 3-0 lead and all signs point to them sweeping the series, especially if Haliburton doesn’t return in Game 4.