Both the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers aim to break their bad habits as they approach Game 2 of the East finals

Published Categorized as NBA No Comments on Both the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers aim to break their bad habits as they approach Game 2 of the East finals
Jayson Tatum drives againstDean Wade, Evan Mobley

After the Celtics pulled off a comeback 133-128 overtime victory over the Pacers to kick off the Eastern Conference finals, Jayson Tatum couldn’t shake one thought: “Don’t relax,” he emphasized.

In the previous two playoff rounds against Miami and Cleveland, Boston started strong with big wins in Game 1, only to stumble in Game 2. Conversely, the Pacers faced early setbacks in Rounds 1 and 2, losing Game 1 but then rallying to defeat Milwaukee and New York.

Tyrese Haliburton, reflecting on Indiana’s latest Game 1 loss against the top-seeded team in the East, advised disappointment but not worry. “We know we can play with these guys,” he affirmed. “There’s a lot of people out there saying we don’t belong here. We don’t really care. We know we belong.”

It’s evident that how both teams adjust for Game 2 on Thursday night will shape the direction of this series. Despite recent history, the Celtics and Pacers showed similarities throughout Game 1.

Tyrese Haliburton reacts after the first half of the game

Both teams were strong offensively during the regular season and carried that into the playoffs, combining for 261 points on Tuesday night. It marked the highest-scoring game of this postseason and the most in a conference finals game since Boston and Detroit totaled 264 in Game 4 of the 1987 East finals.

What was evident was both teams’ weaknesses. Indiana took advantage of Boston’s struggling defense inside, scoring 56 points in the paint.

However, the Celtics managed to win, capitalizing on several mistakes made by a young Pacers team lacking playoff experience. Haliburton made two crucial turnovers, allowing the Celtics to bounce back from a five-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation.

First, he lost control of the ball while bringing it up the court with less than 30 seconds left in a three-point game. He also mishandled the ball, leading to a turnover with just over a minute remaining in overtime.

These errors were among 22 turnovers for the Pacers, who averaged fewer than 12 per game in the playoffs. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle anticipated that his team, with many young players, would face challenges like these during the playoffs.

“You have to go through it to really experience what it’s all about,” Carlisle said. “We try to help prepare them for those experiences. But there’s nothing like going through it.”

Rick Carlisle reacting in the game

Similarly, Boston realized in Game 1 that they would face tough competition from an underdog Pacers team that has the depth to match up with them.

Indiana received strong performances from Haliburton, Pascal Siakam, and Myles Turner, who together scored 72 points. Additionally, the Pacers benefited from significant contributions off the bench from Obi Toppin (15 points) and T.J. McConnell (13 points), outscoring their Boston counterparts 30-13 in bench points.

This adds another layer of complexity for the Celtics in preparing for the Pacers, according to Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla.

“With their ability to play different lineups, the way they sub — they sub two or three different guys at a time. They are willing to go away from sub patterns for certain guys,” Mazzulla noted. “You have to be wary of going to any and everything at any particular time. … Anything is on the table versus a team like this because of their versatility.”

Tatum anticipates both teams will approach Game 2 with renewed confidence. “(Game 1) being a close game going into overtime they certainly feel like they probably should have won. And we feel like we can play a lot better,” he said.

“So, I’m excited for us to come out and respond. And just do a better job of protecting home court than we have done recently.”


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *