The probable defensive matchups for the Pacers vs. the Celtics

The Pacers are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are a tough matchup. Here's how Indiana will likely match up with them defensively.
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) and guard Andrew
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) and guard Andrew / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers have advanced to take on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a great job by them to blow out the Knicks in Game 7 on the road in one of the most impressive playoff performances in years. They set an NBA record with their shooting percentage in the game too.

Now, the Pacers are rewarded by getting to play the best team in the East. Boston won the East by a wide margin in the regular season, finishing the year with 64 wins and gaining the number-one seed by 14 games. With a team as good as them, how will Indiana matchup defensively with them?

The good news is that Kristaps Porzingis is going to miss the beginning of the series. So for at least two games, the Pacers don't have to deal with him. That will leave Myles Turner to guard Al Horford, who stretches the defense well, but not as well as Porzingis.

Pascal Siakam will likely match up with Jayson Tatum. His length is something that should give Tatum a little more of an issue to deal with than if Aaron Nesmith were matched up on him. I'm sure Nesmith will get switched on him at points in this series though.

Nesmith will likely start the series on Jaylen Brown. That leaves the guards to match up with each other. Who is the better player to have Tyrese Haliburton matched up against? He's by far the worst defender on the floor in the series, so who will abuse him the least?

I think they'll start with Haliburton on Jrue Holiday. Despite the fact that he can put up points if he wants to, he's the least aggressive offensively of the starters for Boston. Derrick White has been really good for them, so Andrew Nembhard has to be matched up on him.


This Boston team is a really hard team for the Pacers to cover defensively. They're going to have to win this series with their offense. Being the team that dictates the pace is an absolute must.