NBA Playoffs: Key Matchup: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers

Key Matchup: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers

Celtics vs Pacers

Despite their victories against formidable teams like Milwaukee and New York – both of which had significant injuries – Indiana faces a daunting challenge as they go up against the Celtics. Boston not only dominated the Eastern Conference during the regular season but has also been impressive in the playoffs, comfortably defeating Miami and Cleveland with 4-1 wins in both series.  All these factors are “game changers” on the NBA Playoffs odds.

Spread: Pacers +10 (-110), Celtics -10 (-110)

Moneyline: Pacers +345, Celtics -435

Total: Pacers O 222 (-110), Celtics U 222 (-110)

How Can Indiana Change the Outcome?

Reversing the expected outcome will be a significant challenge for Indiana. To stand a chance, they must disrupt Boston’s rhythm and impose their style of play. The Pacers thrive on a high-speed game, boasting the second-highest pace in the NBA, driven by quick transitions led by Tyrese Haliburton. Boston, on the other hand, prefers a more deliberate approach, ranking 23rd in pace, and relying on their talent to execute in structured offensive sets.

If Indiana succumbs to Boston’s slower, controlled tempo, their chances of an upset will be slim. However, if they can push the pace and force the Celtics into a faster, more chaotic game, much like they did in parts of their series against the Bucks and Knicks, Rick Carlisle’s team might have a fighting chance.


The Importance of Tyrese Haliburton

A critical factor in Indiana’s potential success will be Tyrese Haliburton’s performance. While Haliburton has had moments of brilliance in the postseason, he has also been inconsistent. He ended the series against the Knicks on a strong note, and the Pacers will need him to continue that momentum. Haliburton must not only continue to be a top-tier playmaker but also emerge as a significant scoring threat against Boston’s elite defensive backcourt, which features Jrue Holiday and Derrick White.


Playing Without Pressure

Indiana enters this series with nothing to lose. Boston is the clear favorite, and all the pressure is on them. The Pacers can play with freedom, leveraging their up-tempo style to create challenges for Joe Mazzulla’s squad. With the burden of expectations resting solely on Boston, Indiana can afford to take risks and play an aggressive, high-energy game.


Historical Playoff Encounters

As of 2024, the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers have met six times in the playoffs, always in the first round of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have emerged victorious in four of these series, while the Pacers have won two.

The first two encounters took place in consecutive years, 1991 and 1992, with Boston winning both times. The 1991 series was a close 3-2 victory, while the Celtics swept the Pacers 3-0 in 1992.

The teams then clashed three times in a row between 2003 and 2005. In 2003, Boston won the first-round series 4-2. In 2004, Indiana responded with a dominant 4-0 sweep. The 2005 series was a tight contest, with the Pacers narrowly defeating the Celtics 4-3.

The most recent meeting was in the first round of 2019, where Boston once again swept Indiana 4-0.


As for the NBA playoffs odds, for Indiana to have a chance against Boston, they must control the game’s tempo. Tyrese Haliburton’s performance will be crucial, as he needs to excel in both playmaking and scoring. With no pressure and playing with a sense of freedom, the Pacers can pose a challenge to the Celtics. Historically, the matchups between these two teams have been fiercely contested, and while Boston holds the upper hand, Indiana has shown they can deliver surprises. This series promises excitement and unpredictability as the Pacers aim to upset the favored Celtics.

If you’re looking to place a bet, consider backing the Boston Celtics, given their dominance in both the regular season and the playoffs, as well as their strong track record against the Indiana Pacers.