Celtics vs. Pacers prediction: IN has shot to steal Game 1

Ross Houston
April 15, 2019

We can expect a better shooting performance from the Celtics this time around, but I'm not sure we can say the same for the Pacers. "But that third quarter really killed us". The Celtics quickly made it 29-25, but the Pacers answered with six straight to lead 36-25 with 5:15 to go in the second.

Much was made after the game about Boston's defense in the second half as a whole - especially that third quarter - after in forgot how to score. During that span, Boston's starters shot 3 for 7 from the field and turned the ball over four times.

Sour first half. Sweet second half.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Pacers coach Nate McMillan both said before the series that the more physical team would have the edge. Meanwhile, the win was the Celtics' first all season in 10 games when they scored fewer than 100 points. "They got the momentum and really never let that go". "Then we had open looks that we didn't knock down, and I thought we lost a little confidence". While it's just one game, the Boston Celtics seem to be playing with that pep in their step again, and they're one of the scariest teams in the league when playing to their full potential. "We have to make our adjustments, come out of this game, and be ready to take him out next game". Anyone can come in and make an impact, and it just doesn't have to be on the offensive end. "It's not so much about scoring as it is about the attitude coming in and really just throwing himself into the game".

"We held them to 84 points". We know that they're going to reach down, they're going to slap down. They use their length very well.

IN started the third quarter with a seven-point lead after a nice first half, but the Celtics started fast in the third quarter, scoring the period's first seven points to tie the game at 45. So we've just got to do the right things.

While you can totally win games with defense, I'd like to see Boston hit some shots in Game 2. Barring some extremely unforeseen events, once the Celtics make it past IN, they will face the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the NBA's best record, best point differential and, most importantly, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league's best and most valuable player.

"To steal one (of the first two games) is always the away team's dream, but as the home team there's a lot of pressure to go out there and perform infront of your home fans and I think it's always a level up that you expect yourself to go to".

To beat the Bucks - and, ultimately, make it out of the East - Boston will need to be far better than it was Sunday.

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