LeBron James Criticizes Pacers for Late Coaching Decision in Loss to Celtics

LeBron James and his wife Savannah watch Bronny James participate in the 2024 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena.
LeBron James and his wife Savannah watch Bronny James participate in the 2024 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

As the clock ticked down at TD Garden on Tuesday night, it appeared the Indiana Pacers were going to steal Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals from the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

But the Pacers turned the ball over twice in the final 30 seconds, setting up the opportunity for the Celtics to tie the game and force overtime.

With 8.5 seconds left and the Celtics trailing 117–114, Jrue Holiday inbounded the basketball to teammate Jaylen Brown in the corner. Brown, guarded closely by Pacers forward Pascal Siakam, swished a game-tying three-pointer. The Celtics went on to outscore Indiana by five points in overtime for a 133–128 win.

The Pacers opted not to foul Brown in the closing seconds and paid for it. If they fouled him on the floor, Brown—with the Celtics in the bonus—would have gone to the free-throw line for two shots with around seven or eight seconds left. He obviously couldn't tie the game from the free-throw line.

LeBron James, watching from home as his Los Angeles Lakers didn't make it out of the first round, weighed in on social media.

James then reposted a video from his podcast Mind the Game in which he and NBA analyst JJ Redick discussed why they believe in fouling in late-game situations when up three points.

The Pacers and Celtics will return to the floor Thursday for Game 2 at TD Garden. If Indiana finds itself in a similar situation down the stretch, it'll be interesting to see if coach Rick Carlisle decides to handle things differently.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.