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Gareth Bale
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NBA Playoffs: Celtics Out to End the Pacers’ Home Winning Streak to Go Up 3-0

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Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics

The Celtics finally won a Game 2 in this season’s NBA playoffs after three tries, and they will be aiming to win their third straight when the Eastern Conference Finals move to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indiana on Saturday night.

After a nail-biting overtime win in Game 1, the Celtics blew out the Pacers in Game 2, with offense being the main theme once more.

Needless to say, this is a must-win game for the Pacers because no team has ever come back from a 0-3 hole in a best-of-seven series. However, the pre-game SBOTOP betting odds are stacked against them because there’s a chance that head coach Rick Carlisle won’t have a full squad this Saturday.

Can the Pacers make this a competitive series, or will the Celtics put them in a chokehold?


Talking Points

Haliburton’s fitness is a major concern for the Pacers

The Pacers are 6-0 so far at home this postseason, but their unbeaten streak is going to be in serious jeopardy if their star point guard, Tyrese Haliburton, is not 100-per cent fit come Saturday.

The two-time NBA All-Star was subbed out with 3:44 left in the third quarter, as he hurt his left leg while guarding Jayson Tatum. A few minutes later, it was announced on social media that Haliburton would not return due to a sore leg.

Tyrese Haliburton finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and eight assists on 50-per cent shooting from the field. He had a better outing in Game 1, where he put up 25 points, three rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, and six three-pointers.

The extent of Tyrese Haliburton’s sore leg remains unknown, but it’s the same hamstring he strained earlier in the NBA regular season
The Indiana Pacers are facing uncertainty with the status of Tyrese Haliburton for Game 3 against the Bolton Celtics

The injury is worrying for the Pacers because Haliburton missed 10 regular-season games due to a strained hamstring on the same left leg. Since he returned from the injury at the end of January, his numbers have dipped across the board, although he rediscovered his form here in the postseason.

If Haliburton misses time, the Pacers will need Andrew Nembhard and TJ McConnell to take over the point guard duties, while Pascal Siakam will be tasked with shouldering a heavier load on offence.

Siakam has been a bright spot for Indiana this series, averaging 26.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game on 62.5-per cent shooting from the floor.


Brown heating up for the Celtics

Jaylen Brown is the frontrunner for this year’s Eastern Conference Finals MVP award because of his stellar performances in the first two games against Indiana.

The three-time NBA All-Star hit the booming triple to force OT in Game 1, and he finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals in the win. And then he followed it up with a 40-point explosion in Game 2.

When the Celtics went on a dizzying 20-0 run in the second period to give them the lead for good, Brown was instrumental in that run, scoring 10 points.

Fortunately for the Celtics, Jaylen Brown had enough help in Game 2, as Jayson Tatum and Derrick White notched 23 points each, while Jrue Holiday finished with 15 points and 10 assists.



This is the first Eastern Conference Finals appearance for the Pacers in 10 years. The Pacers made it this far in 2014, but they were defeated by the Heat in six games.

Here’s a fun fact: since 1994, the Pacers have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals every 10 years. On the other hand, the Celtics have made it this far in three consecutive seasons, and six of the last eight overall.

Before meeting in the ECF, the Celtics had a 3-2 regular-season series edge over the Pacers. However, one of their notable losses was in the NBA In-Season Tournament quarter-finals, where the Pacers won with a score of 122-112.

The Pacers went as far as the finals of the In-Season tournament, eventually losing to the Lakers.


What are the odds?

Because they have yet to lose a road playoff game this year, the Celtics are favoured by the NBA 2024 odds to win on Saturday. Boston are 1.35 favourites, while Indiana are priced at 3.12 in the 1X2 market.

Over 224.00 at 2.08 and Over 223.00 at 1.95 should be considered too because both teams are capable of creating numerous NBA 2024 highlights, as shown in the first two games of this series.

Jayson Tatum is expected to be better in Game 3, while Pascal Siakam has been the most consistent scorer for Indiana so far. So, it might not be a bad idea to also go for Over 51.50 at 1.97 between two stars on Saturday.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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