The Boston Celtics are handling their business in the first round after pulling out the first two games against the resilient Indiana Pacers. Despite a regular season full of questions surrounding the East’s No. 4 seed, it now possesses a commanding 2-0 lead over fifth-seeded Indiana.
Kyrie Irving led the way with 37 points in Boston’s 99-91 come-from-behind Game 2 win on Wednesday night. This comes after Boston prevailed in Game 1 with an impressive 84-74 victory — also a comeback win — in their best-of-seven first-round series.
Here’s everything you need to know about this first-round matchup between the Celtics and the Pacers.
No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers
How to watch Game 3
- Date: Friday, April 19
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts
- TV channel: ABC
- Online streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: Pacers -3
Playoff series schedule
*All times Eastern
- Game 1 (at BOS): Celtics 84, Pacers 74 (Box Score)
- Game 2 (at BOS): Celtics 99, Pacers 91 (Box Score)
- Game 3 (at IND): Friday, April 19, 8:30 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 4 (at IND): Sunday, April 21, 1 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 5* (at BOS): Wednesday, April 24 — TV: TBD
- Game 6* (at IND): Friday, April 26 — TV: TBD
- Game 7* (at BOS): Sunday, April 28 — TV: TBD
Odds and Analysis
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Pacers: Many counted the Pacers out after they lost Oladipo in the middle of the season, but Indiana fought hard to remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With Oladipo out, the Pacers benefit from a team-oriented approach to both ends of the floor, and head coach Nate McMillan has done a great job of putting his guys in position to succeed. The main question facing the Pacers now is if they have enough top-tier talent to make some noise in the postseason.
Celtics: After an up-and-down season, the Celtics are just happy that the playoffs are finally here. Boston underachieved over the course of the regular season, as many expected them to run away with the East prior to the season’s start. However, injuries and chemistry issues took a toll on the team. Despite those struggles though, the Celtics still have the talent to come out of the East if they can all get on the same page as they move on in the East.
Matchups to watch
- Brad Stevens vs. Nate McMillan: Stevens is looking to make it back to the conference finals, while McMillan is looking to get our of the first round for the first time in over a decade. Playoff basketball becomes much more of a chess match, as teams play each other multiple times in a row, and it will be interesting to see how these two counter each other as the series goes on.
- Al Horford vs. Thaddeus Young: The two veteran post players will be a central battle during the matchup between the two teams. They are the only two players in the series with 10+ years of NBA experience, and will both look to get the upper hand on the other. Whoever plays better between the two will go a long way toward helping their team advance to the second round.
- Kyrie Irving vs. Indiana’s defense: Indiana had the third-best defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) in the NBA during the regular season, but they will have a very tough task in slowing Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. While they likely won’t be able to stop Irving completely, limiting his effectiveness would go a long way toward propelling the Pacers to an upset series victory.
Series prediction, pick
Celtics in six: The Pacers play hard enough to keep it competitive, and they will likely be able to pull out a couple of games, but ultimately the Celtics have too much talent, and they will wear down Indiana on both ends of the floor.