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Jrue Holiday steals the show for the Celtics in Game 3 win over Pacers

Rapper Flavor Flav gets game jersey from Celtics' Jrue Holiday
Rapper Flavor Flav gets game jersey from Celtics' Jrue Holiday 01:29

BOSTON -- What else is there to say? Jrue Holiday makes the biggest plays at the biggest moments, and now he has the Celtics one win away from a trip back to the NBA Finals.

Mr. Clutch was at it again for Boston, as Holiday came through in the clutch twice in the final minute of the team's comeback win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He did it on offense with a veteran move to the hoop, and then when the Pacers had a chance to take the lead back, he came through on the defensive end, as he's done thousands and thousands of times in his career. Thankfully he's now doing that in a Boston uniform.

He put the Celtics ahead after a furious late-game comeback when he was fouled while putting in a game-tying layup with 38.2 seconds left, and the ensuing free throw gave the Celtics a 112-111 edge. When Jayson Tatum followed a Pacers miss with a missed a layup of his own to try and seal the game, Holiday locked down on defense and stole Indiana's chances to sneak out a win.

Pacers point guard Andrew Nembhard -- who scored 32 points in place of the injured Tyrese Haliburton -- came charging down the floor, but Holiday squared himself up to beat Nembhard to his spot and then poked the ball away with his left hand for a game-sealing swipe for Boston. It's a play that only Jrue Holiday can make, and we are extremely fortunate that he's now making those plays for the Celtics.

He calmly drained his two free throws and Boston walked off with a 113-111 victory for the Celtics, putting them up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not bad guy a guy who missed shootaround and was questionable all day Saturday due to an illness.

Should we call it the "Jrue Flu Game"? Or do we just started shouting "HOLIDAY STOLE THE BALL!" and give the guard his own place in Celtics lore?

"I think I just made a play," Holiday said casually after the win. "I feel like he's a right-hand driver and he's been very, very aggressive all night. Great player, had a great game. But just made a play. I kind of jumped his right hand and got the steal."

"Man, that was unbelievable. That was an unbelievable play," Al Horford said after the win. "A guy like that, coming full speed, him having the instincts to do that. He is just, you know, his instincts. He's just a winner. Ultimately, that's what it comes down to."

"He was sick, dealing with chills and stuff like that. And we've all been there, how tough that is to fight through it," said Tatum, who scored a game-high 36 points for Boston. "And for him to come out there and lay it all on the line for us and make the game-winning play essentially, especially on the defensive end, Jrue is just a big-time player. And he made a tremendous play."

Holiday played 38 minutes and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one block. He once again did a whole lot of everything for the Celtics, and his fingerprints are all over another huge postseason win.

How did he celebrate in the moments after his clutch finish? He gifted his jersey to rapper Flavor Flav, who was in the stands at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. (Flav may want to wash it, considering Holiday was under the weather on Saturday.)

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Three
Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics hugs Flava Flav after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Stacy Revere / Getty Images

It's was quite a way for the Celtics to start this Holiday weekend. Boston had no business winning this game, after falling behind by 18 in the third quarter. No other team had beaten the Pacers on their home floor this postseason, and for much of Game 3, it looked like the Celtics would become their latest victim.

But Holiday not only made those two gigantic plays, he also sparked Boston's defensive resurgence throughout the second half. It was only when Holiday and the Celtics picked up their defensive intensity that they really started to chip away and make moves against the Pacers' lead. After forcing just two turnovers in the first half, the Celtics forced six Pacers miscues in the second half. Boston also blocked nine shots in the second half, logging a rejection on four straight Indiana possessions at one point in the third.

The Celtics closed the game on a 13-2 run to swipe a victory from the Pacers.

This is exactly the kind of performance that the Celtics knew they'd be getting from Holiday when Brad Stevens acquired him. Imagine how the Milwaukee Bucks -- whom Holiday won a ring with but jettisoned him to land Damian Lillard last summer -- must be feeling about ultimately letting their floor leader go to their biggest rival in the East.

Milwaukee's loss is Boston's gain. And now the Celtics can potentially complete a sweep of Indiana and advance to the NBA Finals on Monday night. 

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