Haliburton Takes Responsibility for Tough Loss to Celtics; Siakam Explains Decision Not to Foul Brown

The Indiana Pacers came agonizingly close to winning Game 1 against the Boston Celtics but ultimately lost 133-128 in overtime due to costly turnovers. Head coach Rick Carlisle took responsibility for the loss, but Tyrese Haliburton was quick to shift the blame to himself and his teammates.

“That’s not on him,” Haliburton said. “As players, we have to do a better job. I had two bad turnovers that I feel cost us the game—one in the fourth and one in overtime. I understand he’s protecting us, protecting me as well, but I’ll take that more than he should. I have to be better, and I will be better in Game 2, and we’ll respond the right way.”

Haliburton’s accountability is exactly what you’d want from a team leader. While Carlisle might be critiqued for not taking a timeout when the Pacers struggled to inbound the ball, the critical turnovers by players were the main issue. Haliburton’s turnover in overtime was forced by Jrue Holiday, whom Haliburton praised as the best defender in the league.

To succeed in this series, Haliburton needs to be more effective against Holiday. Haliburton ended the game with 25 points, 3 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, shooting 8-18 from the field. However, when guarded by Holiday, he went 0-3 and had 2 turnovers, according to the NBA.

Pascal Siakam on Why He Didn’t Foul Jaylen Brown
Another significant moment was the Pacers’ decision not to foul Jaylen Brown when leading by three with less than 10 seconds left. Brown’s three-pointer forced the game into overtime, prompting LeBron James to comment that he would have fouled in that situation.

Pascal Siakam, who was guarding Brown, explained his decision not to foul.

“I thought I was a little late because of the screen,” Siakam said. “He was going up, so I didn’t want to do it, and then when I thought I was going to do it, it was too late. It was just a judgment call. I felt like he was going into his motion, he had a pump fake, and I didn’t want to foul then. It was a tough shot. Maybe I could have contested it better, but it was just a tough play.”

Derrick White’s screen made Siakam a bit late, and fouling Brown during his shooting motion could have resulted in a four-point play, which would have been disastrous.

Carlisle confirmed that players were instructed to foul but understood Siakam’s hesitation.

“Yes, but he caught the ball, and he was face-up. Pascal decided to lay off, which I understand,” Carlisle said. “That’s probably the right decision. You don’t want to give up a four-point play.”

While a potential four-point play would have been even worse, Brown’s incredible shot ultimately sent the game into overtime. Despite the unfortunate outcome, Siakam’s decision was reasonable given the circumstances.