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Can Celtics Avoid Trend of Game 2 Stumbles vs Pacers?

The Eastern Conference finals resumes with Game 2 on Thursday night after an extremely intriguing Game 1 victory by the Boston Celtics over the upset-minded Indiana Pacers. The top-seeded Celtics needed overtime to earn the series-opening win against the sixth-seeded Pacers.

Boston was the heavy favorite to win Game 1 and this series, but Indiana looked like it was going to pull off the upset, leading by three in the final seconds of regulation. But a last-second 3-pointer sent the game to overtime, and the Celtics pulled away in the extra session.

Can Celtics Avoid Trend of Game 2 Stumbles vs Pacers?
Al Horford and Pascal Siakam - Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In each of its previous two series this postseason, Boston has lost Game 2 at home, while in each of its previous two series, Indiana has lost Game 1 but rallied to advance. Will those trends continue? Check out our NBA betting preview of Game 2 to help you determine how you want to wager.

 

Pacers vs Celtics Game Information 

  • Game: Indiana Pacers (0-1) vs Boston Celtics (1-0)
  • Date/Time: Thursday, May 23, 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
  • Live Stream: NBA Game Pass

 

Boston had the edge in the regular season against Indiana, winning three of the five matchups between the clubs, though the Pacers got the victory in the In-Season Tournament contest. These two franchises have faced off in the postseason six previous times, with the Celtics coming out on top in four of those series, including a four-game sweep in the 2019 first round.

Despite the close Game 1 result, the Celtics are again a major favorite in the NBA odds, giving nine points to the Pacers for Game 2. The moneyline lists Boston at -380 for a straight-up win, while Indiana is +300.

The over/under for Game 2 is set at 224½ points, with -110 odds on each side of that bet.

 

 

Pacers vs Celtics Odds and Spreads

 

  • Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against Boston.
  • The Pacers are 1-11 straight-up in their last 12 games when playing on the road against the Celtics.
  • The total has gone over in 13 of Boston’s last 13 games with Indiana.
  • The Celtics are 3-6 ATS in their last nine games played in May.
  • The total has gone over in 13 of the Pacers’ last 18 games against an Eastern Conference opponent.

 

Pacers Still Confident Despite Blown Game 1 Lead

The Pacers have had their moments in this postseason when they could have listened to the NBA expert picks and rolled over. And after blowing a late Game 1 lead to lose in overtime, they might be tempted to feel that way again. Instead, they’re approaching Game 2 of the series with a renewed confidence that they can play and beat the top seed if they just play their game.

Tightening things up is needed after the Pacers committed 22 turnovers, including two in the final minute when they held a three-point lead. Indiana had the game in hand but gave Boston extra shots to tie it, and the Celtics capitalized.

“I think it’s on us,” Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton said of the miscues. “They’re a great defensive team, they’ve got great defenders, individual and team defenders, but they’re not a team who forces a ton of turnovers. I just felt like more of them were on us than them. We got to clean that up.”

Haliburton was solid in the series opener, finishing with a team-high 25 points and 10 assists, but he also had three turnovers, including one of the key ones in the final minute. He also couldn’t get off a good shot in the final seconds of regulation with the game tied.

Indiana didn’t let itself get down after falling behind 12-0 to start the game, or when the Celtics opened up a double-digit lead again in the second half after the contest was tied at halftime. The Pacers continued to fight back, showing the grit that has led it to two series upsets already in the playoffs.

“All year long, our battle cry has been ‘continue to play, continue to push tempo, continue to execute, keep playing no matter what,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s served us well, and it did tonight too. So, we got — it’s unfortunate we did so many good things in this game that it came down to a couple of mistakes at the end. But this is the NBA playoffs. And we’ve got to learn from it, and we’ve got to bounce back.”

To bounce back, Indiana will need the scoring it got from forward Pascal Siakam and center Myles Turner in the opener. Siakam finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Turner had 23 points and 10 rebounds. The Pacers had 56 points in the paint, though they only had six free-throw attempts in regulation.

 

Celtics Need Better Game 2 Effort

Twice this postseason, the Celtics have dominated their opponent in Game 1 of a series, only to lose Game 2 on their home floor. Now, Boston had a tough Game 1, albeit a victory. So how will it respond in Game 2?

The Celtics are lucky to not be down 0-1 after Tuesday night as Jaylen Brown saved the day with a last-second 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime.

“Welcome to the NBA playoffs. You’ve just got to manage your emotions. Anything can happen,” Brown said of his tying 3-pointer. “It’s not over until the final buzzer sounds. It’s not over until it’s over. We found a way to win the game at the very end.”

The Celtics’ Big Three of Brown, Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday all had great performances in Game 1, becoming the first trio in NBA history to each record 25 points and three steals in the same playoff game. Brown finished with 26 points while Tatum had 36 points, including 10 in overtime to help Boston snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Holiday had a season-high 28 points, adding eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

But despite all of the hoopla over the win, the Celtics must not get complacent heading into Game 2. Indiana had Game 1 stolen until it fumbled it away, and the Pacers are going to come back with a vengeance on Thursday.

Boston must be better defensively in the paint, which won’t be easy with center Kristaps Porzingis out until at least Game 4 with his calf injury. The Celtics were talking with the right attitude after the Game 1 victory, but they’ve had letdowns in Game 2s already this postseason.

“It doesn’t prove anything,” Tatum said after the win. “We won a big-time game. The series is far from over.”

 

Pacers to Cover Spread Again In Loss

Boston is going to be ready for the Indiana effort in Game 2, though it won’t be easy to get the victory. The nine-point spread is much too much, and the Pacers will keep this game close throughout once again.

But the Celtics are going to come away with another victory on Thursday night. If your NBA betting includes the point spread, go with Indiana, but if you’re wagering on the moneyline, Boston is the pick.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

When did the Pacers and Celtics last play in the postseason


Boston swept the last playoff series it had with Indiana, winning four straight in the first round in 2019.

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