After a spirited comeback, the No. 4 seed Boston Celtics have taken a 1-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the No. 5 seed Indiana Pacers. The Celtics responded to the loss of one of their defensive leaders by putting forth a dominant effort on that end of the floor. They began their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series off on the right foot.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Indiana, NBCS Boston; LINE: Celtics -7.5; O/U: 203.
Boston was 8-point favorites at the closing line before beating Indiana 84-74 in Sunday’s opener. The Pacers took a 45-38 lead into the dressing room, only to be held to eight points during the third quarter. Like many of the Game 1 losers over the weekend, Indiana shot unusually poorly from 3-point range. They only connected on just 6 of their 27 attempts. The allowed bettors to easily cash in the UNDER on the total of 211 points.
The Celtics’ defense held strong despite the absence of two-way guard Marcus Smart. He suffered a torn oblique last week and isn’t expected to return until mid-May. Jaylen Brown started in Smart’s place and only scored two points in 28 minutes of action. Boston wouldn’t need those points in Game 1, thanks in large part to the Pacers. Indiana only shot just 12-of-21 from the free-throw line in between all those missed 3-pointers
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Kyrie Irving and forward Marcus Morris scored 20 points apiece for the Celtics. Boston also had a 55-42 advantage on the glass and held Indiana to 33.3 percent shooting. Irving had to watch Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals from the sidelines last season due to injury, but he made the most of his first playoff game with the team by leading the defensive charge. Forward Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and was the only Celtic to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. He hit 6-of-11 shots, and 3-of-3 from downtown. Al Horford had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Boston hit 18-of-22 free throws, and will need to continue hitting near that clip.
Sometimes it comes down to simply making enough shots. Indiana was nowhere close to achieving that goal. During the third quarter they were 2-of-19 from the floor. Wesley Matthews and Joseph hit a pair of 3-pointers apiece, while their teammates combined to go 2-of-17 from long range. Cory Joseph came off the bench to lead the Pacers with 14 points, while the team’s five starters combined for 38 on 15-of-44 from the floor. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers’ starting five with 12 points
The Dart Throw: Celtics 105, Pacers 96
NBA Playoffs Betting Odds & Trends
|Indiana is 4-10 SU in its last 14 games|
|Indiana is 7-17 ATS in its last 24 games on the road|
|Indiana is 2-11 SU in its last 13 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Indiana’s last 12 games on the road|
|Indiana is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Boston|
|Indiana is 6-16 SU in its last 22 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Indiana’s last 9 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|Boston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Boston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 12 of Boston’s last 17 games|
|Boston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Indiana|
|Boston is 16-6 SU in its last 22 games when playing at home against Indiana|
|The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Boston’s last 9 games when playing at home against Indiana|
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