Sabonis finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Malcolm Brogdon scored a season-high 25 points as Indiana improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
Boston controlled most of the first half but missed its first seven shots to start the second half and was forced to play catch-up. The Celtics took a 107-106 lead after Marcus Smart scored on a fast break with 11.8 seconds to go.
But after calling timeout, Sabonis drove to the hoop, made the basket and drew a foul. He missed the free throw.
Tatum’s shot to win the game was off the mark.
The game turned quickly in the second half.
Boston opened the third quarter with seven straight missed shots and Indiana took full advantage with a 12-0 run that gave the Pacers a 61-55 lead. It was the jolt of energy the Pacers desperately needed playing its second game in two days.
Indiana extended the margin to 81-70 on Brogdon’s 3-pointer with 3:16 left in the third. The Celtics charged back, finally tying the score at 96 on Tristan Thompson’s basket with 6:19 to go.
Celtics: Tatum also had 11 rebounds and five assists. … Jaylen Brown added 18 points and Payton Pritchard added 13 points off the bench. … Boston had 18 turnovers.
Pacers: Brogdon had five rebounds and five assists. … T.J. Warren had 17 points and Doug McDermott 16 off the bench. … McDermott has had three straight double-figure games.
The Pacers deactivated two-time All-Star guard Victor Oladipo on the second game of a back-to-back. Officially, the reason given was injury management — a reference to the ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, an injury he suffered in January 2019. Unofficially, this was something Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Prtichard wanted when he was searching for a new coach this fall. Coach Nate Bjorkgren responded by mixing and matching his rotations.
Celtics: Planning to stick around Indianapolis for an unusual Tuesday night rematch against the Pacers.
Pacers: Will try to win their fourth straight under coach Nate Bjorkgren against Boston on Tuesday.