NBA

WATCH: Jrue Holiday steals last-second ball to snatch Game 3 victory vs. Pacers

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Right when everyone thought the Pacers would win Game 3 against the Celtics, Jrue Holiday came to the rescue with another one of his signature steals. The guard stole the ball from rival Andrew Nembhard, as they were in quick transition. The former Bucks star prevented Indiana’s clutch attempt and the score ended 111 to 114 in his team’s favour.

With Boston now leading the series 3-0, Al Horford called Jrue’s play “unbelievable” twice. “Man, that was unbelievable. That was an unbelievable play,” he said postgame. “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.”

The play happened with less than 10 seconds to the final buzzer, as Nembhard went hard downhill, but encountered Holiday on the way to the arc. Then, with one clean swipe, the Celtics player took the ball away.

“I think I just made a play,” the veteran recalled. “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.” His rival said: “He got in front of me,” Nembhard told the press. “I lost the ball, slipped, turnover.”

The 33-year-old pulled off one of his classic plays, the same that two seasons ago was dubbed “The Jrue.” Brook Lopez, his former Milwaukee teammate, always found it hard to explain. “I don’t know how he does it. He does it so fast, it’s like he’s not even reacting. He just times it just right. It’s nuts. It’s phenomenal,” he said some time ago.

Boston coach Joe Mazzulla also dedicated praise for his pupil. “That’s a trademark steal that he always gets with the inside hand,” he said after the match. “He gets that a lot, usually when the guy is coming down the sideline, but he got it in transition. So I’d been looking forward to a couple of those. He hasn’t gotten as many as I would like him to have gotten this year. But he made a big-time play.”

What was even more remarkable, was the fact that Holiday was listed as questionable before the contest, but still played and excelled. “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,” Jayson Tatum said.

The Indiana coach Rick Carlisle blamed his team’s loss on poor shot efficiency and unfair officiating

Just as the match came to an end, Rick Carlisle couldn’t hide his disappointment. According to the Pacers tactician, he felt the referees did a poor job that night, especially about the lack of foul call for his squad.

“There were a lot of things out there that I disagreed with, that I think any Indiana fan would disagree with,” he said, after witnessing Boston produce a 13-2 run in the final two and a half minutes. “We missed some shots, and there were some plays where they could have gone a different way, is the best I can say it. Just very disappointed.”

Before Holiday’s power play in the final moments of the contest, Carlisle knew he could’ve called a timeout, but decided to let things roll as Nembhard pushed towards the rim.

“With eight or nine seconds left, and you’re in transition after a miss, I trust our players to be able to create a better shot than calling timeout, having them set their defense and run our end-of-game stuff on their video and show their players,” the Indiana coach said. “It’s more of a ‘play basketball’ type situation. And we’ve done well this year trusting our players.”