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

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

Boston opened the third quarter with a 22-3 run to take a 60-48 lead. In total, IN scored just 29 combined IN the third and fourth quarters, and though the defense was able to hold the Celtics IN check, the lack of scoring was the Pacers' downfall IN this one. Considering their playoff run previous year without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics were expected to be among the top contenders, but have underachieved and enter the playoffs as the East's No. 4 seed.

"I thought he did a really good job, and we needed him to, " coach Brad Stevens said after his team secured an early 1-0 series lead over the Pacers.

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) controls the ball while center Aron Baynes (46) blocks Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (11) during the second half in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.

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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. Boston is a seven-point favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 209.5 in the latest Celtics vs. Pacers odds.

While you can totally win games with defense, I'd like to see Boston hit some shots in Game 2. The Celtics are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 Conference Quarterfinals games, 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 Wednesday games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.

"We'll you figured they'll make adjustments", Pacers guard Darren Collison said. Bojan Boganovic was the lone Pacers starter in double figures with 12 points. Boston rallied back thanks to Marcus Morris - his 12 first-quarter points kept the Celtics even at 20-20 after the first 12 minutes. Jayson Tatum chipped in 15 of his own on 6-11 shooting and a flawless 3-3 from deep. "I got a couple of bigs guarding me, so I'm just trying to space the floor and read their closeouts [and] trying to let the game come to me". When the dust settled, Boston outscored IN 26-8 IN the period and led 64-53. The Celtics quickly made it 29-25, but the Pacers answered with six straight to lead 36-25 with 5:15 to go in the second.

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