Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#565 Boston Celtics -140 vs.
#566 Indiana Pacers 203
Sunday, April 21, 2019 at 1:05pm EDT
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Written by Chris Kubala

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#565 Boston
#566 Indiana
52-33
48-37
41-42-2
40-44-1
46-37-2
34-50-1
111
107
107
104

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An Eastern Conference first-round playoff series comes to you live from the Hoosier State on the parquet floor. The fourth-seeded Boston Celtics are on the road as they travel to face the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers with a chance to close out the series Sunday afternoon. Boston rallied in the second half of Game 1 to take an 84-74 victory Sunday afternoon. In Game 2, it was a fourth quarter rally by the Celtics that gave them a 99-91 victory and a 2-0 series advantage. Boston claimed Game 3, 104-96, to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. The Celtics lead the all-time regular season series 98-79 and took three of four meetings this season, including a 117-97 road win on April 5. Boston has won three of the five previous playoff series and has a 16-12 edge in victories though it was the Pacers taking a 4-3 win in the first round of the 2005 playoffs the last time the teams met.

Boston Celtics Looking for Sweep

Boston has put together three straight wins to open the postseason and has put the Pacers on the brink of elimination at this point. The Celtics have rallied in the second half of all three games in order to take their commanding advantage in the series. Boston now looks to close the series out with a victory here. The Celtics were up 13 after the opening quarter but trailed by two at the half after being outscored 33-18 in the second quarter. Boston’s defense cranked up the pressure in the second half, outscoring Indiana 45-35 to get the victory. The Celtics shot 46.9 percent from the field, including 15 of 34 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 45-40. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points and seven rebounds in the win.

The Celtics are 12th in the league during the postseason in scoring offense with 95.7 points per game. Boston is 3rd in the league in rebounding with 49.3 boards per game and stand tied for 12th with 21 assists per contest. Boston is very good on the defensive end: they are 1st in scoring defense, allowing 87 points per game. The Celtics are 11th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.8 percent from the floor as a team. Boston is tied for 4th in three pointers per game with 12 per night while the team is 3rd in three-point percentage as they hit 40 percent from beyond the arc. Kyrie Irving leads the Celtics with 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and eight assists per game in the postseason. Jayson Tatum contributes 19.7 points a night. Boston hopes that the Jaylen Brown who showed up in Game 3 shows up going forward after he totaled only eight points in the first two games of the series. The Celtics continue to be minus Marcus Smart, who is out with a torn oblique suffered against the Magic on April 7.

Indiana Pacers Trying to Send Season Back to Boston

Indiana has put together solid play in chunks of each game in the series. The Pacers have held the lead in the second half of all three contests before seeing things unravel in each of those games. That puts Indiana in the unenviable situation of knowing that a loss in the next four games would bring their season to an end. The Pacers rallied from 13 down after the opening quarter to take a two-point halftime edge. After scoring 61 first-half points, Indiana totaled only 35 in the second half, including just 12 in the third quarter. The Pacers shot 42 percent from the field, including 11 of 30 from beyond the arc, and lost the rebounding battle 45-40. Tyreke Evans led Indiana with 19 points off the bench in the loss.

The Pacers are 16th (or dead last) in the league in postseason scoring offense with 87 points a night. Indiana is 15th in the league in rebounding by collecting 39.3 boards per game. The Pacers are 10th in assists with 21.7 per game but have been solid defensively this season. Indiana is 5th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 95.7 points per game. Indiana is 13th in the league by shooting 39.8 percent from the field. The Pacers are tied for 11th with 10 threes per game. Indiana stands 12th in the league as they’re knocking down 33 percent from beyond the arc. Bojan Bogdanovic leads the Pacers with 16.7 points plus five rebounds per game but he’s shooting only 38.8 percent from the field in the series. There hasn’t been much to write home about offensively for the rest of the team. The Pacers have to get Myles Turner, Darren Collison and Domantas Sabonis going to have a chance in this series. Indiana clearly misses Victor Oladipo at this point of the season.

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Indiana has struggled at key times in all three games and in those situations, Boston has taken full advantage of the situation and rode on to victory. The Pacers have to get secondary scoring options in order to take some pressure off of Bogdanovic. More importantly, the Pacers have to knock down the open looks they get. In the series, Indiana is just 12 of 40 on uncontested shots: you can’t shoot 30 percent with no one challenging you and hope to win. Boston has the momentum and they are motivated right now. The Pacers haven’t cracked the century mark in the first three games of the series: until we see some sort of cohesive offensive attack, you can’t rely on them. Look for Boston to get the victory in this contest and earn the sweep.

Prediction: Boston Celtics -2.5

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We’ve seen a trio of low scoring affairs, though the total has gone up in each game of the set. In Game 1, the teams combined to score only 158 points in a 10-point Boston triumph. Game 2 saw the teams put up a total of 190 points as Boston prevailed by eight thanks to their last-minute rally. In Game 3, the total hit 200 points with the Celtics taking an eight-point win. That marked the first time we saw a team hit the 100 point mark in the series. Will Indiana find a way to do enough offensively to push the series to a Game 5?

The under is 5-1 in the Celtics’ last 6 Conference Quarterfinals games and 5-2 in their last 7 games following a straight up win. Indiana has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four against Atlantic Division teams, 4-1 in their last five overall, 4-1 in their last five on Sunday, 4-1 in their last five against Eastern Conference teams and 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Look for this one to fall under the total as the defense by both teams has been overwhelming at this point.

Prediction: Under 204

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.