It was an anxiety-inducing Game 1 on Tuesday as the Indiana Pacers fell to the Boston Celtics in overtime. At one point in the closing moments, it looked like the Pacers had it in the bag. However, crucial mistakes down the stretch cost Indiana the series opener. One player who committed late-game errors was Tyrese Haliburton, and a primary reason for this was the peskiness of Celtics guard Jrue Holiday. While answering questions in the press conference, Haliburton made a statement that shows how much he respects Holiday's defense.

“He's the best defender in the NBA,” Haliburton said. “He has been for a long time.”

One of Haliburton's lapses occurred with a minute remaining in overtime. As Holiday hounded him, the Pacers star lost control of the ball with his team down by one.

“I was trying to get him as far to the left wing as I could so I could come downhill to my right. I had the spin to set it up and I just dribbled it off my foot,” Haliburton added.

Nonetheless, the 24-year-old believes that he'll bounce back in their next outing.

“It's unfortunate. It's frustrating for sure, but it happens. We make mistakes; we're human. I learned from it and I'll be better in Game 2.”

Overall, Haliburton still put up good numbers. The point guard finished with 25 points and 10 assists. He made six threes, one of which came from far out on the logo before halftime.

On the other hand, Holiday also had himself a game, tallying 28 points and eight assists for Boston.

The Pacers' heart-wrenching fourth quarter

Going back to the Pacers, it was a heartbreaker. Besides what happened in overtime, the final moments of the fourth quarter also saw lapses that bit the team back. With around 35 seconds remaining in regulation, the Pacers had ball possession while clinging on to a three-point advantage. Haliburton then turned the ball over while bringing it up the floor. The Celtics tried converting on the other end, but attempts by Derrick White and Jayson Tatum were off the mark.

After Boston gave up a foul, Andrew Nembhard's pass to Pascal Siakam resulted in another turnover. The Celtics had possession with nine seconds left, resulting in Jaylen Brown's game-tying shot.

The silver lining in Game 1

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) dribbles the ball against Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday (4) in overtime for game one of the eastern conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden
© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

While one could argue that the win slipped away from Indiana's grasp, the silver lining in Tuesday's clash was seen in how the Pacers were able to go toe-to-toe with the Eastern Conference's top-seeded team. Led by Tyrese Haliburton, seven Indiana players finished in double figures. Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam both tallied double doubles, while Obi Toppin and TJ McConnell continued to do damage off the bench.

It was only the first game, and the Celtics were already pushed to the limit. At one point, the entire TD Garden was in jitters. The Pacers gave a glimpse of their hunger, and there's no doubt about it — the upcoming clashes will also be slugfests.