Boston Celtics win Game 1 in defensive struggle vs Indiana Pacers

NBA Playoff Previews Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers

Everybody in the sport knows that a different Irving arrives when it comes to the playoff and he has proven it when he scored the game-winning bucket in Game 7 to clinch the Cavaliers' NBA title in 2016 when they came from 3-1 down against the Warriors. The Pacers lack of scoring is being blamed for the loss, though the defense came through and kept the Celtics from running away with the game. 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. 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. That the Celtics were able to only underscores how abominable the Pacers were in the second half, particularly in the third quarter.

100% Bonus on first deposit. The Boston Celtics have won four of their last seven home games.

The Pacers led by seven at halftime, but Boston outscored the Pacers 26-8 in the third quarter, taking the lead and comfortably holding onto it for the rest of the afternoon. With how familiar these teams are with each other, having played five times already this season, the Pacers will be sure to make adjustments and get back after it in Game 2, trying to steal one on the road.

The Pacers have been impressive without Victor Oladipo, with Bojan Bogdanovic picking up a lot of the scoring and creation load and Myles Turner developing into a fringe Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

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Points are going to be at a premium in this series, which works for the Pacers but someone has to make shots. The Indiana Pacers are shooting 22.2 percent from beyond the arc and 57.1 percent from the free throw line. There is room for improvement. Marcus Morris and Kyrie Irving led the team with 20 points apiece. The Indiana Pacers are allowing 35.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42 rebounds per game. Marcus Morris also chipped in 20 points off the bench.

After a shaky start, it turned out to be Boston. Irving, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford are all capable of being even more efficient at the offensive end of the floor as they combed for 16-of-38.

Boston Celtics small forward Gordon Hayward is "optimistic" about Boston's chances to win the National Basketball Association title this season.

- Pacers spread the wealth early, falter late.

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