BOSTON — The Celtics seemed close to blowing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, which caused fans to leave, but those supporters missed a thriller at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Boston came back from a 12-point deficit to make it a contest, but late-game struggles reared their ugly head, and the Pacers seemed on the path to closing out the game. Andrew Nembhard threw the ball away with 8.1 seconds left to give the Celtics life, and then botched situational awareness helped Jaylen Brown hit the game-tying three.

Fans who left the game early were forced to watch from outside of TD Garden, and while they were admonished on social media, Luke Kornet on Wednesday understood the situation they might have been in.

“Speaking for myself and for my family, I know the 8:00 start time can be a little late. Kids wake up at about the same time,” Kornet said. “You understand everyone’s making sacrifices to be there. I mean, it was like a tough situation, but that’s basketball where you can just take one or two plays and be able to sneak out the win.

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“I hope they were able to get their kids to school early and are able to get a better emotional, mental state to really hit the day running because sometimes you could be in a rough start the next two, three days. If you’re tired, kids are tired. It’s gonna be a tough situation. It’s kind of like being able to make the reads of how much help do I give or how much do not. You’re always kind of in that position.”

Boston will get another 8:00 p.m. ET start time for Game 2 on Thursday. Fans might have to think twice about leaving early after Game 1, but they’ll at least know one member of the Celtics is empathetic toward them.

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