Celtics vs Pacers Eastern Finals Odds, Preview and Score Prediction

Celtics vs Pacers Eastern Finals Odds, Preview and Score Prediction

Likely most of the country wanted to see a KnicksCeltics Eastern Conference Finals in the NBA, but the Indiana Pacers were having none of that as they upset New York in their semifinal series.

However, Indy is a double-digit underdog on the NBA odds for Game 1 in Boston on Tuesday night.

Expert Pick Celtics -10 (total 222)
What´s the Score? Celtics 120, Pacers 111
 

Indiana Pacers Betting Odds +198

The Pacers upset the Knicks in Game 7 of their semifinal series on Sunday in New York, 130-109. In the franchise’s most important game in a decade, the Pacers pulled off the greatest shooting performance by any team in league playoff history as they hit an NBA playoff-record 67.1% from the field and became the fifth team in NBA playoff history to score at least 130 points in a Game 7. Indiana is in the East Finals for the first time since 2014.

The Pacers came back from down 0-2 in their series — the first time the franchise has ever surmounted such a deficit in a seven-game series. Neither the Knicks or Pacers had lost a home game before Game 7, and the Pacers remain the only team undefeated at home in the playoffs at 6-0. The Pacers’ 130 points also matched a franchise playoff NBA record for most points in a playoff game.

The Knicks were just so banged up by that point, including superstar Jalen Brunson having to leave in the third quarter after fracturing his hand. So even if the Knicks had won somehow, they would have been massacred in this round by Boston without Brunson.

Haliburton was terrific in the win with 26 points on 10-for-17 overall and 6-for-12 from deep while adding six assists, four rebounds, one block and one steal over 33 minutes. Haliburton ended the series by scoring 20 or more points in four of the seven contests, adding at least five assists in every game against New York.

Pascal Siakam had 20 points, four boards and four assists. Siakam was one of the few players on the Pacers roster with prior experience in a Game 7, and his leadership helped set the stage for Sunday’s victory. The brief return of OG Anunoby did not impact Siakam as the Knicks forward could barely move due to his strained hamstring.

Turner added 17 points, five rebounds and four blocks. After blocking two shots total in the series’ first two games, Turner turned things up a notch as far as the rim protection was concerned. He had at least two in the final five games. With Boston unlikely to have Kristaps Porzingis for the first two games, Turner establishing his presence in the middle would go a long way toward helping the Pacers win a game in Boston. Off the bench, TJ McConnell was once again excellent, flying all over the floor on his way to 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, seven rebounds, and a steal.

Indiana finished 53-of-79 from the field ( 13-for-35 from 3-point range), assisting on 33 baskets, while the Knicks shot 42.4 percent. The Pacers won the critical rebounding margin 33-28 and points in the paint differential 52-38.

By advancing to the Eastern Finals, the Pacers will also be playing late enough in May to overlap with the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2014. The schedule couldn’t work out any better for Indiana fans, as the Pacers will host Game 3 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday, the 108th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will be on Sunday, and then Game 4 will be on Monday night at the Fieldhouse.

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Boston Celtics Betting Odds -250

The Celtics have been off since eliminating Cleveland in Game 5 of their semifinal series, 113-98 last Wednesday. Al Horford hammered the nail in the Cavs’ coffin when he knocked down his career-high-tying sixth 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining.

Horford brought energy in the form of a 22-point, 15-rebound, five-assist, three-block effort, making him just the third player in NBA playoff history to record a 20-15-5 game at age 37 or older along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James. He also became the first player to record at least 15 rebounds, six threes, and three blocks in a playoff game.

Jayson Tatum had 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in the clincher, barely missing a triple-double. Tatum joined Larry Bird as the only Celtics players with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a playoff game.

Tatum is the only player averaging at least 23.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game in the 2024 playoffs. Since 1950-51, there have been 7 total instances where an NBA player recorded at least those averages during a single playoff run (min 5 games played). Tatum accounts for three of those instances which he also accomplished in 2022-23 and 2019-20. The only other players to do so are Nikola Jokić (2020-21, 2018-19), Kevin Garnett (2002-03), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (2020-21).

Starting center Kristaps Porzingis isn’t expected to be available for the start of the series. Porzingis has been sidelined since he sustained a calf injury in Game 4 of Boston’s first-round matchup against the Heat. Porzingis is making progress in his recovery, and there’s some optimism that he could return at some point during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Porzingis is an elite rim protector and 3-point shooter who recorded career highs in field goal percentage (52%) and effective field goal percentage (59%) this season, while allowing just 44.3% shooting in the paint, second best among players to contest at least 300 shots this season. So if the Pacers really have any shot here, they better win a few games while Porzingis is out. The Pacers, who struggled mightily at times to keep the Knicks off the offensive glass, may have that problem against the Celtics, too. Indiana ranked 26th in defensive rebound rate during the regular season.

Boston is in the East Finals for the sixth time in the last eight years. With defending NBA champion Denver eliminated in the West finals, the C’s are now the clear favorites to win it all. Tatum is the +120 favorite for Finals MVP.

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Pacers vs Celtics Season Series

Boston won the regular season series 3-2 — the Pacers eliminated the Celtics in the quarterfinal round of the In-Season Tournament in December — but the teams haven’t played since Jan. 30 in Beantown when the Celtics won 129-124. Jayson Tatum scored 30 points and had two blocks in the final 30 seconds for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown added 25 points and Derrick White finished with 24. Aaron Nesmith led the Pacers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. All-Star Tyrese Haliburton had 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds.

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Bet Pacers vs Celtics

When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET
Where: TD Garden
TV: ESPN & ESPN2
Stream: ESPN+
Radio: Tunein.com

 
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