The Indiana Pacers could very easily be up 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, but they are instead down 3-0 and on the brink of being eliminated. They had another great opportunity for a win in Game 3, but they blew an eight-point lead with two and a half minutes to go. Even after going down, the Pacers had a couple chances to win it or tie, and a crucial turnover happened when head coach Rick Carlisle decided not to call a timeout. The Celtics ended up winning the game, 114-111.

Carlisle was clearly peeved in the immediate aftermath of the game with how things finished.

“I just watched the ending so you don't need to remind me. I saw everything that happened. Everything.”

Indiana had every chance to win Game 3. They led by 18 points in the second half and had that eight-point lead with about two and a half minutes left in the game. The Celtics came back and went up 112-111 late in the game, and at one point, the Pacers got the ball in transition with under 10 seconds left with a chance to go back up. Rick Carlisle could've called timeout, but he chose not to.

“Well, you know, with eight or nine seconds left and you're in transition after a miss, I trust our players to be able to create a better shot than calling timeout and having them set their defense, run our end of game stuff on their video to show their players,” Rick Carlisle said after the game, according to a tweet from “It's more of a play basketball type situation. We've done well this year trusting our players.”

Rick Carlisle thought that his team was “courageous”

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle reacts during the third quarter of game three of the eastern conference finals against the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA playoffs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers lost on Saturday night, but Rick Carlisle was still proud of how his team fought. He gave props to a lot of players that had big games, and he noted that his team is not done fighting.

“Courageous,” Carlisle said. “Our guys played a courageous game. [Andrew] Nembhard was great, Pascal [Siakam] was great, [Myles] Turner was great, [T.J.] McConnell, what can you say about him, you know? Our bench guys fought. We came up a little short tonight, but we will be back on Monday, and we will be punching even harder.”

Indiana is down 3-0 in this series, but they should be feeling some confidence after the way these first three games have gone. The Pacers have had great opportunities to win games, and if they could execute down the stretch, they would be up 2-1 in this series. They can win games against the Celtics.

Now, the Pacers will somehow have to rattle off four straight wins against the best team in the NBA, and it is not going to be easy. Indiana will look to avoid elimination in Game 4 on Monday night at home. The contest will get going at 8:00 ET, and the game will be airing on ESPN. The Celtics are currently favored by 8.5 points.