Pacers vs. Celtics Odds, Prediction: Game 2 NBA Playoffs

Carrie Guzman
April 17, 2019

The Celtics, who finished fourth in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, take on the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 will give us a good look at the individual matchups that will define the series but, on paper, nearly all of them go in the Celtics favor. For much the rest of the period the Pacers kept the Celtics at arm's reach, at times extending their advantage to as many as 11. IN will head into Wednesday night with a 4-12 against the spread record in their last 16 road games versus teams with winning records at home.

The Pacers led by 11 points in the first half but had just eight points in the third quarter. Beset by chemistry issues stemming from the return of Hayward and Kyrie Irving after a young Boston team almost made the NBA Finals without them last season, though, it's instead been a very up and down season for the Celtics, who finished 49-33 on the year.

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In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Irving became just third player in franchise history to have 20-plus points, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the team. When the dust settled, Boston outscored IN 26-8 IN the period and led 64-53. "And it just doesn't have to be on the offensive end". Clearly, this team misses All-Star Victor Oladipo, who has been out for a long time. The Indiana Pacers are shooting 22.2 percent from beyond the arc and 57.1 percent from the free throw line. He nailed his first three attempts - a 24-foot 3-pointer, a pull-up mid-range jumper, and a 26-foot 3-pointer - in addition to drawing a foul on another 3-point shot attempt. There is room for improvement.

On a team full of reputable defenders, like Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Aron Baynes and Jaylen Brown, Morris has emerged as a staunch defender himself and - as McMillan notes - routinely defends the opponents best wing or forward. And of those 12 points, five came after Brad Stevens had emptied the Celtics' bench. Considering their playoff run past year without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics were expected to be among the top contenders, but have underachieved and enter the playoffs as the East's No. 4 seed. But Boston's start wasn't exactly inspiring. Given the sparkling playoff run Boston went on previous year, they have to feel good about their chances. The over is 5-2 in Pacers last 7 overall.

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