The NBA playoffs begin in just over two weeks. Let’s preview a series against every potential first-round opponent for the Pacers. Next up: the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics have Indianapolis native and former Butler basketball coach Brad Steven leading their charge. He is one of the best coaches in the NBA and has the Boston Celtics sitting second in the Eastern Conference with just a handful of games to go. They have clinched a top-two spot in the postseason. For the Pacers to meet Boston in the first round, some craziness would have to happen in the standings that would involve the Pacers falling to the seven seed. But it could still happen if certain combos of Washinton/Miami/Milwaukee wins out. So even though it is improbable, the series is possible and worth talking about.
The Celtics are within striking distance of Toronto in the standings, but the Celtics still have to play the Raptors and Wizards. If they lose to Toronto, they are locked into the two-seed, so that looks like their most likely result.
The fact that Boston is a top-two seed is truly immaculate. They have sustained injuries to stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, but have been getting incredible production from some young guns. Al Horford ended up an all-star. They just found ways to win games, and some even happened on nights where they seemed to have no chance to win (side-eyes Bogdanovic).
Despite that gut-wrenching loss, the Pacers went 2-2 against Boston this season, going 1-1 both at home and on the Celtics home floor. All four of these games were within six points, suggesting that these teams are fairly evenly matched, meaning it could make for a great series.
Let’s break it down, starting with… the starters.