Pacers eager to clean up play against Celtics in Game 2

The Indiana Pacers know where improvement is needed on Thursday when they visit the Boston Celtics for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Pacers committed 22 turnovers in their 133-128 overtime loss in Game 1 on Tuesday, and those miscues led to 32 Boston points. The costliest turnover came with 8.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter while sixth-seeded Indiana was leading 117-114. Pascal Siakam couldn’t handle Andrew Nembhard’s inbounds pass, and he then allowed Jaylen Brown to make a game-tying 3-pointer that forced overtime.

“We had a lot of turnovers that would be hard to explain, but this is the conference finals in the NBA playoffs and these things happen,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “As many turnovers as we had, our guys continued to play, continued to fight and found a way to get a three-point cushion and the ball. So at that point we just gotta finish it off.”

Aaron Nesmith (five) and Myles Turner (four) accounted for nine of the 22 giveaways, but Tyrese Haliburton also turned the ball over three times — including twice in key moments. He dribbled the ball off his foot when Indiana led by three with 27.7 seconds left in regulation, then lost the ball out of bounds with 1:02 remaining in overtime.

“I think it’s more on us,” Haliburton said. “They’re a great defensive team. They got great, great defenders — individual and team defenders — but they’re not a team who forces a ton of turnovers. They’re a solid, solid team. I just felt like more of (the turnovers) were probably on us than them forcing them. We got to clean that up, and outside of (Game 1) and one game last series, we’ve really taken care of the ball. So, we’ll fix it in Game 2.”

Top-seeded Boston has won Game 1 in each of its three playoff series this year, but it failed to win Game 2 at home against Miami in the opening round and against Cleveland in the conference semifinals.

After Thursday’s game, the best-of-seven series will shift to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4.

“Come with the mindset of don’t relax,” Boston star Jayson Tatum said. “Different circumstances. The first two rounds we won our Game 1 by a wide margin, so maybe human nature played into that. But (Tuesday) being a close game, going into overtime, we certainly felt like we should have won and we could have played better.”

All of the Celtics’ starters scored at least 15 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Tatum led the way with 36, but Boston also received a season-high 28 points in 48 minutes from 33-year-old Jrue Holiday, who also had eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

Haliburton (25 points) and Siakam (24) were Indiana’s leading scorers. Turner also took advantage of Kristaps Porzingis’ absence by tossing in 23 points.

Porzingis, Boston’s starting center, has missed the past seven games with a calf strain. ESPN reported that he could return for Game 4 of the conference finals.

“He’s working hard every single day to make as fast of a recovery as he can,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said of Porzingis. “He’s there for everything and it can’t go underestimated how hard he works, trying to come back in a timely fashion.”