The fourth-seeded Boston Celtics will host the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The two teams finished the regular season with nearly identical records, but the Celtics closed the season one game better, which was enough to secure home court advantage in the first round.
The Celtics won three out of the four regular season meetings between the two teams, with their only loss to Indiana during the regular season coming way back in early November; when the Pacers still had the services of All-Star guard Victor Oladipo who was lost for the season with a ruptured quad tendon in January.
Here’s everything you need to know about this first-round matchup between the Celtics and the Pacers.
No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers
How to watch Game 1
- Date: Sunday, April 14
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
- Location: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts
- TV channel: TNT
- Online streaming: TNT
- Odds: Celtics -7
Playoff series schedule
*All times Eastern
- Game 1: Sunday, April 14, 1 p.m. (TD Garden) TV: TNT
- Game 2: Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. (TD Garden) TV: TNT
- Game 3: Friday, April 19, 8:30 p.m. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) TV: ABC
- Game 4: Sunday, April 21, 1 p.m. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) TV: ABC
- Game 5: Wednesday, April 24* (TD Garden) TV: TBD
- Game 6: Friday, April 26* (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) TV: TBD
- Game 7: Sunday, April 28* (TD Garden) TV: TBD
Odds and Analysis
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Pacers: Many counted the Pacers out after they lost Oladipo in the middle of the season, but Indiana fought hard to remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With Oladipo out, the Pacers benefit from a team-oriented approach to both ends of the floor, and head coach Nate McMillan has done a great job of putting his guys in position to succeed. The main question facing the Pacers now is if they have enough top-tier talent to make some noise in the postseason.
Celtics: After an up-and-down season, the Celtics are just happy that the playoffs are finally here. Boston underachieved over the course of the regular season, as many expected them to run away with the East prior to the season’s start. However, injuries and chemistry issues took a toll on the team. Despite those struggles though, the Celtics still have the talent to come out of the East if they can all get on the same page as they move on in the East.
Match-ups to watch
- Brad Stevens vs. Nate McMillan: Stevens is looking to make it back to the conference finals, while McMillan is looking to get our of the first round for the first time in over a decade. Playoff basketball becomes much more of a chess match, as teams play each other multiple times in a row, and it will be interesting to see how these two counter each other as the series goes on.
- Al Horford vs. Thaddeus Young: The two veteran post players will be a central battle during the matchup between the two teams. They are the only two players in the series with 10+ years of NBA experience, and will both look to get the upper hand on the other. Whoever plays better between the two will go a long way toward helping their team advance to the second round.
- Kyrie Irving vs. Indiana’s defense: Indiana had the third-best defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) in the NBA during the regular season, but they will have a very tough task in slowing Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. While they likely won’t be able to stop Irving completely, limiting his effectiveness would go a long way toward propelling the Pacers to an upset series victory.
Series prediction, pick
Celtics in six: The Pacers play hard enough to keep it competitive, and they will likely be able to pull out a couple of games, but ultimately the Celtics have too much talent, and they will wear down Indiana on both ends of the floor.