The Boston Celtics can take complete control of this series with a victory here and building a 2-0 lead. The Pacers did that exactly, limiting the Celtics and jumping out to an early 12-6 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.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Pacers coach Nate McMillan both said before the series that the more physical team would have the edge.
"He just brought a really intense veteran mindset, just being able to go out there and impact the game, " said Irving, who totaled 20 points in his first playoff game with the Celtics.
The Pacers led by 11 points in the first half but had just eight points in the third quarter. They continued to struggle to score and at the 5:21 mark in the final quarter, Boston led by 20, 79-59, and the game was effectively over.
IN made just one more basket in the quarter - a layup by Doug McDermott - and finished the period with just eight points, getting outscored 26-8.
Antetokounmpo, Bucks roll past Pistons in series opener
Within six minutes the lead had grown to 17 points and victory looked assured after the opening quarter behind the 38-18 lead. Having a player as dominant as Giannis on your roster is a huge advantage, but don't be fooled; the Bucks are loaded.
The Pacers have been impressive without Victor Oladipo, with Bojan Bogdanovic picking up a lot of the scoring and creation load and Myles Turner developing into a fringe Defensive Player of the Year candidate. "They got the momentum and never let that go".
"We'll you figured they'll make adjustments", Pacers guard Darren Collison said. The over is 4-1 in Celtics last 5 overall.
Boston would get within seven, but Cory Joseph drilled a long triple to push the lead back to double-digits, 43-33, with 2:19 remaining.
Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris scored 20 points apiece for Boston, which won handily despite shooting just 36.4 percent. Jayson Tatum is the third double-digit scorer and Al Horford is grabbing 11 rebounds. The Pacers are also just 2-7 now ATS when an underdog of six or more points. The Celtics blew the Pacers out in the third quarter to open their 2019 postseason run with a decisive win.
This is obviously not where the Boston Celtics were hoping to be but even with a season full of inconsistency and apparent chemistry problems, they have everything they need to make a run at the title.