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3 Reasons Why Pacers Can Upset Celtics in ECF

The Indiana Pacers enter the Eastern Conference finals with plenty of confidence after upsetting the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The bad news is the Pacers face a Boston Celtics team that has been the best team, by far, in the Eastern Conference. For the NBA odds, the Pacers sit at +620 to win the series.

Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton believes the elimination-saving win against New York is a sign of things to come.

3 Reasons Why Pacers Can Upset Celtics in ECF
Tyrese Haliburton #0 Of The Indiana Pacers / Elsa / Getty Images North America / Getty Images Via Afp

There’s a lot of exciting things going on in Indiana right now,” Haliburton said, per the Pacers website. “I think we’re just excited to be a part of it, and us three (Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner) are all a part of the long-term future here in Indy and we’re all excited about that. Excited to continue to build excitement around our city and understand we’re not done yet.

Here’s a look at three reasons why the Pacers can pull an upset to advance to the NBA Finals.


No. 1 – The Stardom of Tyrese Haliburton

If the Pacers are able to pull off the surprising upset of the Celtics, chances are we’ll be talking about an amazing series from Haliburton. I think there is still room for improvement for Haliburton based on what we have seen in the playoffs.

Through the first two rounds, Haliburton averaged 18.8 points, 8.1 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 37.5% from long range. Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle believed Haliburton showed “shades of Reggie Miller” in Game 7 at MSG.

Tyrese Haliburton is a great basketball player,” Carlisle noted, via Pacers.com. “He’s a great point guard. If we need him to score 30, he can find a way to score 30. His job is to run the team — that’s why he led the league in assists. … When you have a guy that is not only a great passer, but gives his teammates great confidence when he passes the ball, it’s important when balance is struck.

Today, he knew that we needed some special shotmaking. There were shades of Reggie Miller running around in that first quarter.”

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No. 2 – Kristaps Porzingis’ Status is Unknown

Another thing that gives Indiana a chance is the mystery surrounding Boston big man Kristaps Porzingis. The Celtics have yet to reveal a return timeline but the star missed the team’s entire series versus the Cavaliers due to a calf injury.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Porzingis will remain sidelined for at least the first two games of the series.

Porzingis is expected to remain sidelined for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, but there is optimism he will be able to return sometime in the series barring any setbacks, sources told ESPN on Friday,” Wojnarowski wrote on May 17.

Porzingis has been making progress in his recovery from a soleus strain of his right calf, ramping up his on-court activity for an anticipated return in the conference finals, but still needs more time for a return to play, sources said.

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No. 3 – Indiana Built Upon Its In-Season Tournament Success

It sounds funny to cite the inaugural In-Season Tournament, but the Pacers’ deep run in the event can only help them. Indiana advanced to the championship of the tourney only to get blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yet, Indiana defeated Boston in the quarterfinals. The NBA playoffs are much different than the In-Season Tournament, but it did give the Pacers the experience of being in elimination games.

The Pacers’ confidence has grown since making a deep run in the tournament. Yet, Indy is still sizable underdogs in the Las Vegas odds to win the NBA title at +3000.



Questions of the Day

Who is favored in the Pacers-Celtics series for the Eastern Conference finals?

The Celtics are heavy favorites over the Pacers to win the Eastern Conference finals.

What is the point spread for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Pacers and Celtics?

The Celtics are a 10-point favorite versus the Pacers in Game 1.

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