Celtics use second-half defense to down Pacers in Game 1

Celtics vs Pacers Playoff Series Predictions

The picture-perfect moment capped a successful Game 1 for the elder Morris, who scored 20 points in a postseason game for just the third time in his Celtics career. Jayson Tatum chipped in 15 of his own on 6-11 shooting and a flawless 3-3 from deep. "I thought he played really big and strong". They continued to struggle to score and at the 5:21 mark in the final quarter, Boston led by 20, 79-59, and the game was effectively over.

Boston's big run started with a dunk by Jaylen Brown (check it out below), but Irving dominated the third quarter, dropping eight points and dishing out three assists while the Pacers scored just eight points on 2-for-19 shooting. The 29 points that IN scored IN the second half were its worst of the season.

"We had open looks that we didn't knock down", Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. The Celtics entered the year with championship aspirations and settled for inconsistency and occasional struggles on both ends of the floor, leading to a 4-seed that barely earned them an extra home game next to the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge in the first round. Game 1 will give us a good look at the individual matchups that will define the series but, on paper, nearly all of them go in the Celtics favor.

IN made just one more basket in the quarter - a layup by Doug McDermott - and finished the period with just eight points, getting outscored 26-8.

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Morris, who was recently bumped from the starting lineup in favor of center Aron Baynes, nearly singlehandedly kept the Celtics afloat by scoring 12 of their next 14 points. "Those shots fall in Game 2, we're talking about a different game".

The Boston Celtics can take complete control of this series with a victory here and building a 2-0 lead. Before you make any Pacers vs. Celtics picks, listen to what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say. But there was a gradual decrescendo, as the Celtics managed to tally just 6 points in the first six minutes of play. "They got the momentum and never let that go".

I keep looking back at the March 25 meeting between these two teams (Note: This was after the Pacers lost Victor Oladipo for the season, so similar lineups to what we'll see in this series), when the Celtics won 114-112 but didn't cover as seven-point home favorites. I love getting a lot of points in a relatively low-scoring game as points are at a premium.

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