at Boston Celtics (3-0) at Indiana Pacers (0-3)
Sunday, April 21, 2019
1:00 PM ET
Post Season Game #4, Road Game #2
Round 1 Game #4
Radio: WROR 105.7, 1070 The Fan
Bankers Life FieldhouseProbable Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving ...............................................SG: Jaylen Brown
C: Aron Baynes
SF: Jayson Tatum ............................................... PF: Al Horford Celtics Reserves
Robert Williams III
Marcus Smart (oblique) out Two Way Players
RJ HunterHead Coach
Brad StevensProbable Starters
PG: Darren Collison .................................................. SG: Wesley Matthews
C: Myles Turner
SF: Bojan Bogdanovic .............................................. PF: Thaddeus Young Pacers Reserves
Domantas Sabonis Injuries
Victor Olidipo (knee) out Two Way Players
There have been 132 teams that have gone down 0-3 in a best of 7 series in the NBA. Of those 132 none have ever overcome the 0-3 start to win the series so the Pacers have a huge task ahead of them. Even if they don't win the series, however, their pride is going to demand that at least they don't get swept.
The Pacers will especially want to avoid their second first round sweep in three years. They were swept in 2017 by the Cavaliers before taking the Cavs to 7 games last season. The Celtics haven't swept a series since they swept the New York Knicks in 2011.
The Celtics and Pacers have swept each other one time each in NBA history. The Pacers swept the Celtics 3-0 back in 1992. The Celtics swept the Pacers 4-0 in 2004. Both of these were first round series. A sweep in this series would give the Celtics a day or two extra to rest before having to take on the winner of the Bucks-Pistons series, which the Bucks lead 3-0 and will likely sweep.
The Pacers have been in each of the three games so far and have led in the second half but third and fourth quarter scoring droughts have doomed them in all three games. The Celtics closed Game 3 with their starting lineup from opening night with Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. They are finally playing like we expected them to all season. There is still room for improvement, however, and hopefully they will take another step up in this game.
Marcus Smart remains out for the Celtics with a torn oblique. Victor Oladipo remains out for the Pacers with a knee injury. Smart has been on the bench for the Celtics, cheering on his teammates and being a defensive coach on the bench. Victor Oladipo was supposed to join his team for Friday's game but was unable to due to poor weather delaying his flight. If he is able to make it to this game, it may give the Pacers a much needed boost. Kyrie Irving was sniffling at his post game press conference after Game 3. Hopefully that won't develop into something worse. Keys Matchups
Jayson Tatum vs Bojan Bogdanovic
This remains the key matchup for both teams. The Celtics need Jayson Tatum to be aggressive and to play well. On the other hand, they must continue to limit Bogdanovic's impact on the game. He is averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals. He is shooting 38.8% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. He is by far the Pacers best scorer and always a threat to hit 3 pointers in the clutch. However, so far the Celtics have been holding him well below his season averages.
Al Horford vs Thaddeus Young
The only other Pacers starter who is in double figures in the playoffs is Young. He is averaging 11 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.7 steals. He is shooting 42.2% from the field, but just 16.7% from beyond the arc. Both averages down quite a bit from the regular season also. Horford is key for the Celtics because he does so much on both ends. The Celtics are 29.8 points per 100 possessions better with Al Horford on the floor through the first three playoff games and is absolutely vital to the Celtics' success. Honorable Mention
Celtics Bench vs Pacers Bench
The Pacers have gotten some good production from their bench and when the starters sit, the Celtics reserves need to come in and make a difference as well. The Celtics reserves are contributing 27.3 points and 18 rebounds per game while the Pacers reserves are putting up 34.8 points and 18.7 rebounds per game. The Celtics second unit has to match the production from the Pacers bench and keep the Celtics playing well when the starters get some rest.
Keys to the GameTake Care of the Ball
- The Celtics have been turning the ball over 15.7 times per game in these playoffs, which has led to 17.7 points off those turnovers for the Pacers. The Celtics were 3rd in the regular season with just 12.8 turnovers per game. They simply must take better care of the ball. They need to continue to make the extra pass and move the ball but they have to be more aware when they do because the Pacers have been very good at getting into the passing lanes. They are 3rd in the playoffs with 9.3 steals per game. The Celtics must take better care of the ball as the turnovers have been making these games much closer then they should be. Defense
- Defense wins Championships and for certain, defense will decide this series. The Celtics are second to Milwaukee in the playoffs with a defensive rating of 91.9. The Pacers are 5th with a defensive rating of 101.4. This game also will be a defensive dogfight and the team that plays the toughest, in your face, defense will likely get the win. The Celtics need to clamp down on defense from the start and keep it up until the final buzzer. Rebound
- Rebounding takes effort and desire and usually the team that wins the rebounding battle will come out on top in the game. So far in the series, the Celtics are out-rebounding the Pacers 49.3 to 39.3 rebounds per game. The Celtics must continue to crash the boards as a team to beat the Pacers to rebounds in this game as well. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics must put out the extra effort to beat the Pacers on the boards. Be Aggressive
- Brad Stevens and Nate McMillan both said before Game 1 that the more physical team would have the edge. The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team on the road, especially. They have to be aggressive going to the basket and getting into the paint. They have to be aggressive in beating the Pacers to loose balls and rebounds. They have to be the more aggressive team on defense and they have to play harder than the Pacers for 48 minutes.Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics must come out playing hard from the tip on both offense and defense and they have to continue that until the final buzzer sounds. The Pacers will be desperate for a win in this game and will come out strong themselves and so the Celtics will need to match their energy. They can't afford to have an offensive drought or to have a defensive let down. They must play hard from start to finish. X-Factors Road Game
- The Celtics are on the road once again and will be playing in front of a very hostile and loud crowd. The players have to focus on the game and block out all the distractions that come with playing on the road. The Pacers were a very good home team this season and so it will take extra effort and teamwork for the Celtics to win this one. They can't let the crowd and the Pacers, who will be more aggressive at home, fluster them and take them out of the game. Closeout Game
- The Closeout game on the road is one of the toughest games to win. The Pacers will be extra motivated to get this win and avoid a sweep. They will have the crowd behind them and so the Celtics need to be extra focused and play harder to overcome all those factors going against them.