Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from Game 1 vs. Pacers

Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from Game 1 vs. Pacers

The Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 84-74 in Game 1 of their first-round series on Sunday afternoon.

The Celtics, who finished fourth in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, take on the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs.

Irving scored 20 points on 6-of-17 shooting in the win. Bojan Boganovic was the lone Pacers starter in double figures with 12 points.

Since Oladipo went down, the Pacers are only averaging 108.6 points per 100 possessions, which ranked them 23rd in the league during that stretch.

Here's how it all went down. But sound play in the closing stages of the stanza resulted in the first finishing level at 20.

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Still, though, Boston was forced to mount a comeback as IN took a seven point lead into halftime.

Boston did come out with some energy early, thanks largely to Irving. The Pacers are also just 2-7 now ATS when an underdog of six or more points.

PACERS TAKE CONTROLAfter an even first period, IN built a bit of a cushion out of the chute and made sure to maintain it. Ultimately, one bad quarter wiped away the Pacers' 45-38 halftime lead and awakened the sellout crowd inside TD Garden for one of many events held in Boston this weekend. The over is 5-2 in Pacers last 7 overall.

IN struggled against the Celtics throughout the regular season, losing three of four - including their last two meetings in March. They may win that third game, but I think Boston wins four and five and somewhat easily moves on to the second round.

Morris was the only player for either side in double-figure scoring at the half, pouring in 15.

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The Celtics' second half performance was not only dominant, but it showed the exact reason they could reasonably be expected to tear through the east at a moment's notice.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Pacers coach Nate McMillan both said before the series that the more physical team would have the edge.

Sour first half. Sweet second half. They finished the first half with 10 turnovers, which led to 11 Pacers points.

The period ended with Terry Rozier connecting on an acrobatic 3-pointer with 0.1 secondsremaining to put the Celtics ahead 64-53.

IN led by as many as 11 in the first half before Boston opened the third quarter with a 22-3 run to take a 60-48 lead. By the time there was two minutes left in the game, Stevens had mostly reserves on the floor. He expects the Celtics point guard to be at his best from Game 1 against the Pacers and even if the Boston franchise do not make a deep run, he is certain Irving will ensure his stats "look good".

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