The Boston Celtics avoided the need for a fourth-quarter miracle in Game 2 against the Indiana Pacers, taking their first 2-0 series lead of the postseason on the road, now two wins shy of the NBA Finals.

Stepping back onto their home floor with the Pacers, the Celtics showcased more of the defensive identity that routinely appeared throughout the regular season. Indiana’s 16 turnovers and 34 points in the paint to Boston’s 54 were direct results of a 48-minute boost in defensive urgency that, if present for the rest of the series, will doom the Pacers.

“I don’t think we were happy with how we played (in Game 1),” Derrick White said after Boston’s 126-110 win, per ESPN, as seen on ESPN. “We were happy with the win, obviously, but we knew there was a lot we needed to do better and to improve on, so we got a good film session yesterday, talked about a lot of things, and we were able to finally get a Game 2 win.”

Here are three takeaways from Celtics-Pacers Game 3:

Story continues below advertisement

1. Jaylen Brown’s Game 1 hero’s cape stayed on his back
Brown shattered Indiana’s hopes in Game 1 after sinking a clutch game-tying 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and in Game 2, the All-NBA snub proved the voters wrong yet again.

Turning the intensity up a notch, Brown scored a game-high 40 points, shooting 14-of-27 with five rebounds and two assists. Brown was the offensive alpha dog from start to finish, scoring 24 points in the first half alone, and taking the initiative to help repair Boston’s home-court protection — the Celtics had lost Game 2 in the first two rounds at TD Garden.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

“It’s whatever it takes,” Brown said postgame, as seen on ESPN. “It’s the playoffs, man. Whatever it takes to get a W, on defense, on offense, that’s what I’m gonna do.”

2. Boston bailed out Jayson Tatum (again)
Tatum’s been praised for facilitating, rebounding, and getting teammates involved throughout the playoffs. But aside from all that, Tatum’s offense has been far from the five-time All-Star’s All-NBA form.

Story continues below advertisement

The shooting slump continued for Tatum, who went 2-for-8 with four points and three turnovers, registering a minus-4 rating in the first half. Tatum was unreliable from all areas on the floor offensively, which was only sustainable because of Boston’s depth similar to Game 4 against the Heat.

Derrick White (23) and Jrue Holiday (15) combined for 38 points while Payton Pritchard sprinkled in 12 points off the bench. Tatum’s subpar 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including 1-of-7 from three, didn’t hamper the Celtics because the team’s depth kept stiff-armed Indiana from a comeback bid.

Two wins away from the NBA Finals, the question remains: will Tatum repay Boston with an all-time postseason showing anytime soon?

Story continues below advertisement

3. Joe Mazzulla may or may not have taken advice from Eddie House
Sitting patiently on Boston’s bench, Oshae Brissett has awaited an opportunity to contribute after logging a combined 15 minutes in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

With Kristaps Porzingis out and an increased level of responsibility sitting on the shoulders of 37-year-old Al Horford, ex-Celtic Eddie House advocated for Brissett — who didn’t play Game 1 on Tuesday night.

“I think you gotta look into Oshae Brissett,” House proposed before Game 2, per NBC Sports Boston. “I think that’s a guy who has energy, he’ll rebound the basketball, he can guard multiple positions.”

Getting 12 minutes on the floor on Thursday night, Brissett scored two points with three rebounds and three steals, finishing a plus-18.

Story continues below advertisement

Does the rotation creativity from Mazzulla signal what’s to come as the series heads to Indiana?

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images