Boston Celtics: Three Keys to Beating Indiana Pacers in First Round
The Boston Celtics will play Indiana in the first round of the NBA playoffs. That series will begin on Sunday and the C’s should get the series win easily, but there are three things that must happen in order for that to happen.
Kyrie goes off
Obviously, Kyrie Irving is Boston’s best player, but he needs to take advantage of the Pacers’ backcourt. The 27-year old shot 45 percent beyond the arc versus Indiana during their four meetings this season.
Irving averaged more than 19 points per game vs Indy and will need to do more with backup point guard Marcus Smart unavailable for 4-6 weeks because of a groin tear.
Big men assemble
Baynes, the former San Antonio Spur, grabbed 11 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks against Indiana the last time these two teams met (Friday). The 32-year old also tallied a double-double for the C’s 45th win of the year as he collected 13 points and 13 boards.
Horford, had 19 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks back in Game #76 of the season, against the Pacers. The Florida product also reached 11 points and seven boards versus Indy last Friday.
If Baynes and Horford can keep Indiana from getting easy buckets, then it should lessen the pressure on Boston’s perimeter players.
Stop Bojan Bogdanovic
In four games against the Celtics this season, Bogdanovic is averaging 13.5 points.
The main scorer for Indiana is averaging a career-best 18 points per game in his sixth year in the NBA.
With the 29-year old becoming the Pacers primary weapon, it’s hard to imagine them winning a game — let alone this series — if Bogdanovic can’t put the ball in the hoop.
The Boston Celtics have plenty of defenders that can put a hand in his face or on the ball. Whether it’s Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Marcus Morris, the C’s can make it difficult for an opponent to get the ball rolling and score points consistently.
The Celtics should win this playoff series, despite having a locker room of players that were not having much fun earlier in the season and with a star in Irving that could depart in free agency.
Regardless how great or poor the locker room chemistry is between all the C’s players, there’s no way these NBA players want to underachieve in the playoffs — which leads me to believe they’ll find a way to reach the NBA Finals this year.
How far will the Celtics go this postseason? Leave a comment below.
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