Why the Pacers being down 0-2 again is not the same as it was in round two

Indiana faces a bigger challenge this time entering Game 3 down two games to none once more.
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks / Steven Ryan/GettyImages

Saturday night, the Indiana Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in an unfortunate and yet familiar position. The sixth seed in the Eastern Conference is already halfway to elimination. With two more losses this series, their season will be over.

However, in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Rick Carlisle was able to recover by winning all three playoff contests at home and the decisive Game 7 on the road (at Madison Square Garden). This road is one that is bound to be rougher and not as smooth for the Pacers.

Boston has been the most consistent team in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics never lost three games in a row during the regular season. They only lost back-to-back games four times. Furthermore, four of their 18 losses were in overtime.

Indiana lost back-to-back games twice before the end of November. In fact, the Pacers even endured a four-game losing streak which dropped them to 13-12.

Tyrese Haliburton and company would go on to lose consecutive contests another five times until March 3rd. From then on, the Pacers never lost another game following a defeat.

Furthermore, Boston failed to win only four games at home. Every other team in the East had at least 11 home losses. Only Denver and Oklahoma City were the other two teams with less than ten defeats as the host.

The Pacers barely cracked the .500 mark on the road whereas the Celtics finished 27-14 when they were the guest during the regular season. This also was the best mark in the Eastern Conference.

Obi Toppin, Jayson Tatum
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Pacers can score but they struggle to stop anyone.

Indiana dominated the league offensively as they led the NBA in points per game, field goal percentage, and assists a game. On the other side of the ball, the Pacers were the third-worst defense in the Eastern Conference. As a team, they allowed 120.2 points per game.

The New York Knicks had the second-best defense, and the Celtics owned the fifth-best defense in the NBA. As history has shown us, offense's pace tends to slow down, and games are not as high-scoring.

The Celtics still managed to put up 126 points against the Pacers in Game 2 on Thursday night. The Pacers only could record 110. Though Game 1 was much closer, Indiana was still outscored 133-128 after four quarters and an overtime period.

Back on November 1st, the Pacers got blown out 155-104. In the five times these two teams have faced each other (one being during the In-Season Tournament), Boston's lowest-scoring game was 118 points. The Pacers lost both times at the TD Garden.

Indiana is simply facing a much better team.

These aren't the Knicks. The Pacers faced an opponent last round that did not dress Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, or Bojan Bogdanovic. Jalen Brunson played hurt, and OG Anunoby missed time, too.

Boston's only major absence is that of Kristaps Porzingis. He may not be ready until Game 4 or 5 but could further swing the tilt in favor of the Celtics.

The Pacers haven't been able to keep up with their opposing starters. In Game 1, all five members of the starting lineup for Boston scored at least 15 points. Three scored more than 25 points as Jayson Tatum went off for 36 points.

In Game 2, Indiana struggled to contain Boston's first five again. Four starters scored at least 15 points and this time it was Jaylen Brown who was the leading scorer. He tallied 40 points which aided in the Pacers' demise.

Indiana has already played a total of 13 playoff games prior to this series. They have won eight of them and lost five. Boston has only needed five games to finish each of their playoff opponents.


The Celtics have only lost two postseason contests thus far. That's as many as the Pacers have in this series. Indiana has a chance to rally at home before the potential return of Porzingis. More than ever, the Pacers have to win these next two at Gainbridge Fieldhouse if they want their season to continue.