BOSTON — When the Celtics desperately needed a final-second uplifting, Jaylen Brown answered the call and delivered the biggest playoff moment of his eight-year career, and at the perfect moment.

Returning to the Eastern Conference finals for a third consecutive time, the Celtics hosted the sixth-seeded Pacers, after going 3-2 with Indiana during the regular season. Boston’s 12-0 run to begin the night didn’t preview what would unfold the rest of the way as the Pacers went toe-to-toe, matching the Celtics until snagging a favorable fourth-quarter lead which led to many — including Boston’s fans — counting the C’s out of Game 1.

That was until Brown made his presence felt and at the best possible time.

“Down three we needed a big shot and big play to extend the game,” Brown said after Boston’s 133-128 win over Indiana.

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After deflecting an inbounds attempt while guarding Indiana’s Pascal Siakam, with 10 seconds left in regulation, Brown secured new life for the Celtics. And then off an inbound pass from teammate Jrue Holiday, Brown knotted the game even at 117 a piece by nailing a clutch and heavily-contested 3-pointer, sending Game 1 into overtime.

Brown recalled his thought process before the shot: “I was just telling myself, ‘If I get this shot, it’s going in.’ And I was just telling myself the whole time, ‘If you get it, it’s going up and it’s going in.'”

It was, by far, the biggest moment of the night and capped off an elite rise-to-the-occasion situation from Brown, who finished with 26 points on 10-for-20 shooting with seven rebounds and three steals. Brown rejuvenated a relatively mundane stretch from the Celtics after repeated failed attempts at getting over the hump and put the Pacers away without leaving the TD Garden crowd on the edge of its seats biting its nails in fear.

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“It’s simple. Big-time players make big-time plays,” Jayson Tatum said. “That was a hell of a shot he made. The deflection to give us an opportunity to make that shot. … This is the definition of a team win.”

Brown re-energized the faithful Celtics fans still around for the final seconds of the fourth quarter while the team didn’t squander its second shot at crossing the finish line. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy, but the Celtics understood that and didn’t waver at the uncomfortable.

“Welcome to the NBA playoffs,” Brown said. “You just gotta manage your emotions of the game. Anything can happen. The game is not over until the final buzzer sounds and that was a good example of that. We was able to turn them over a little bit towards the end; one with Haliburton on the sidelines and I was able to get the deflection off of Siakam, that just extended the game. It’s not over until it’s over.”

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images