Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers - 4/17/19 NBA - Playoffs Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Pacers ready to tip-off playoffs against Celtics

The Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics begin their best-of-seven 2019 NBA Playoffs series early today at the TD Garden.

The Celtics trailed by seven at halftime but held IN to just eight third-quarter points as they took control.

"I thought we kind of lost our way in that third quarter", Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the game, via ESPN. "They got the momentum and really never let that go". Cory Joseph is averaging 14 points and two rebounds while Bojan Bogdanovic is averaging 12 points and two rebounds. Boston is a seven-point favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 209.5 in the latest Celtics vs. Pacers odds. IN led by as much as eight in the first quarter, but Boston was able to battle back and tie the game up heading into the second quarter, 20-20.

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"They missed some shots, but we were really connected", he said.

The incident didn't seem to impact either player going forward, but it did serve as a reminder of just how emotionally-charged playoff games can be, especially when you're talking about two of the game's better teams defensively. "Even if the Celtics follow up a lackluster season with a lackluster postseason, Kyrie will personally be on a mission to make sure his stats look good", Carter said on "First Things First". Now they're without Marcus Smart and facing No. 5 seed IN, which the Celtics beat 3-1 straight-up IN the regular season (2-2 against the spread). The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 in the fourth.

"We just had to turn that page", he said.

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Now, the model has dialed in on Celtics vs. Pacers. But transition defense remained an issue for the Pacers as the Celtics outscored IN 24-14 on the fastbreak.

The change paid off with Morris connecting on 3 of 4 field-goal attempts in the period, including two 3-pointers, and scoring 12 points.

Marcus Smart will miss the first round with a torn oblique muscle but Boston can plug either Gordon Hayward or Jaylen Brown into the starting rotation. Irving, the Celtics star, discussed the victory with reporters after the game.

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While his team was able to recover from a dismal start, Stevens said the Pacers' defense deserved credit for making things hard on them throughout the game.

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