Indiana Pacers playoff roundtable: Who will win the series?

Indiana Pacers versus Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers versus Boston Celtics /
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Domantas Sabonis holds the ball against the Celtics
Domantas Sabonis holds the ball against the Celtics /

What are the keys to the series for the Indiana Pacers?

Parrish –

1) The bench has to get back to form. CoJo has been in a funk on the offensive end, and the Pacers need him back if they want to make a run.

2) Indiana must do whatever they can to limit Kyrie Irving. I would much rather someone else have open looks and let them beat us than have Kyrie just drive right through the defense.

3) Let Bogey get to work and carry the offense. It’s no secret that he is the best offensive weapon on the team. If he can do his job and lead the offense, I think that gives Indiana the best chance to escape Boston.

Furr – I actually wrote on this the other day. You can find the full thing here, but I’ll briefly list my most important one. Myles Turner, Thad Young, and Domas Sabonis have to win the battle of the “bulge” against large man Aaron Baynes, Al Horford, and Boston’s group of small ball power forwards. They have to stretch Baynes and Horford away from the rim and make Boston pay dearly when they put Jayson Tatum/Gordon Hayward/Marcus Morris at the 4.

Matthes – Pound the Celtics inside. The outside-in combination of Turner and Sabonis has to be excellent. When they are clicking almost no team has an answer, and Boston isn’t an exception to that, even with Horford and Baynes. The side-effects of the Twin Towers excelling are numerous.

A) Having to account for the inside presence will open up the mid-range and perimeter for the Pacers and namely Bogdanovic to exploit, which is key. The success of Sabonis-Turner means Boston can’t direct its entire defense to stop Bogdanovic, which makes Indiana much more dangerous.

B) Not only does that make things easier for Bogdanovic, but it also means there will be more space for Darren Collison, Wesley Matthews, and Doug McDermott to let fly from deep. Consequently, if those three are shooting well, that means more single-coverage for Sabonis down low. All good things for Indiana.

C) If Sabonis-Turner plays well, that means Young will be forgotten more frequently allowing to do his thing and slip in weakside for easy put-backs and rebounds. Basically, Indiana will play much better if the paint is won by the Pacers.

Pfeifer – I’ve talked and written about this at length, but key number one is good Tyreke Evans showing up. Now, the likelihood of this seems slim. Inspiring some confidence, Evans’ last game against Atlanta was one of his best this season, notching his season-high scoring figure (27). If he can combine his high-level self-creation skills with improved finishing and decision making, he brings immense value to the Indiana offense. Myles Turner needs the ball. He’s flashed enough creation potential to warrant a longer leash in that vein. With Bojan Bogdanovic and Domas Sabonis the only two sources of consistent offense, Turner must be involved early and often.

Eggers: The Pacers are gonna need approximately 7 Bogey Games if they want a shot at winning this series. The biggest disparity between these teams is offensive, and the options the Pacers have to make up for it are pretty limited. Maybe Wesley Matthews gets hot, Turner stretches Al Horford out and scores inside and outside, Dougie finds his stroke … a lot of non-guaranteed things have to happen for the Pacers to keep up. But, at the end of the day, the Celtics have lost one of their defensive anchors for the series, and have had a locker room in flux all year. Sort of sounds like a Pacers team from a few years ago, right? The team that almost lost to the Hawks in the first round? A 4-5 matchup isn’t exactly the same concept, but if the Pacers come out swinging, and catch a few lucky breaks offensively, it’s possible that they could help orchestrate Boston collapsing onto itself.