The Eastern Conference finals feature a showdown between the season-long favorites, the Boston Celtics, and underdogs, the Indiana Pacers

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Pascal Siakam takes the control of the ball

Much of the journey the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers have taken to reach the Eastern Conference finals has been influenced by who they haven’t had to face.

Top-seeded Boston easily won their first-round series 4-1 against the Miami Heat, who were without Jimmy Butler, the player who had crushed the Celtics’ hopes in Game 7 of last season’s conference finals.

They then secured another 4-1 series win in the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were missing All-Star Donovan Mitchell for the final two games due to injuries.

The path for sixth-seeded Indiana has also seen some significant obstacles removed. The Pacers needed six games to win their first-round series against a Milwaukee team that was missing Giannis Antetokounmpo.

They then defeated a New York Knicks team that was leading the series 3-2 before suffering multiple injuries, including star Jalen Brunson breaking his hand in the Pacers’ dominant Game 7 victory.

However, neither Boston nor Indiana is focused on the stories about their paths to this point. They’re here, and starting with Game 1 on Tuesday night in Boston, it’s now NBA Finals or nothing for both teams.

Indiana Pacers players all joyed up

For the Celtics, this means ignoring the championship expectations that have followed them all season. “You just got to focus on what matters most,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. “That’s your team. That’s each possession in front of you.

That’s whatever your job is. … Just be able to focus the mind on what matters because it’s easy to get distracted or eluded from what the goal and what the target is when you start to entertain kind of everything that’s going around you.”

Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton said they always had high expectations within their team.

“We had preseason camp in Nashville – just players, no coaches. That’s what we communicated from the jump. That we expected to be here. This ain’t a surprise to us,” he said. “It’s not a fluke. We expect this from our group. Once we added (Pascal Siakam) we knew we could really take off.”

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle fully embraces the idea that his team is the “uninvited guest” among the NBA’s final four teams. “We had some good fortune to get to this moment,” he said. “But our guys did the work to put us in a position to be here.”


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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